Saturday, 30 August 2008

You can take the girl out of America...

but you can't take America out of the girl. Certainly not a Washington suburbs girl who cut her teeth on political discussion via the McLaughlin Group and Agronsky and Co. I used to stay awake on those sticky Washington August nights every four years, watching the National Conventions, caught up in the excitement of the upcoming election. There was nothing like it.

It should come as no surprise that I was born in an election year. One that should have been won by a Democrat, one that would have been won by a Democrat, had he not been assassinated after making a post-California primary victory speech.

I felt utterly betrayed when Al Gore was robbed of the presidency in 2000, even more so when GW Bush was re-elected. I feel so battered by the Bush administration, even across an ocean, that I wasn't going to vote this year, for the first time since I was 18. I thought it didn't make a difference.

But the man I voted for in 2000 convinced me otherwise:


Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn’t really matter who became president. Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity. Some assumed we would continue both, no matter the outcome. But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn’t matter.

Take it from me, if it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq, we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him. We would not be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis; we would be fighting for middle-income families. We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution; we’d be protecting the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation. And we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving it.


Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them. The same policies? Those policies, all over again? Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous.

Amen. Now if someone would only let me fall asleep in this reality only to wake in an alternate 2000, where my feet fly down the steps to turn on teletext and I whoop for joy, rather than sit down in shock. A reality where I get to relive the last eight years, savouring the phrase "President Gore", where GW Bush fades from memory as one of the many who lost the election.

For those of you who want to hear it in full, here it is. I'll be posting Michelle Obama's speech, and Barack Obama's too - what amazing speakers they both are. We could have a black president of the United States of America. Someone who, as Al Gore said, "
His life experience embodies the essence of our motto – e pluribus unum – out of many, one. That is the linking identity at the other end of all the hyphens that pervade our modern political culture."

Yes, I live in hope. So sue me.

It's time for a change - for a broader-minded, more equal, more compassionate world. A world that knows that it is steward of the planet, not unbridled consumer.The next election, where it all begins, is yours, America.

Make it so.

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