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obamaI?ll be the first to admit that I?ve been disappointed in past Democratic candidates: Bill Clinton, while overall wonderful, soured me with his stance on welfare reform. When Gore came along, I was disappointed with his pussy footing around issues that I embraced with my full heart. The same rang true with Kerry. I voted for the Democrats not because I embraced their ideals 100%, but because I wanted to keep what I felt were the real evils, the Republican candidates, out of office. I was expecting the same voting malaise with Obama.Last night, I hadn?t planned to watch a minute of his Democratic National Convention speech. Rather, I?d thought about pecking away at a pile of preparatory schoolwork or enjoying a margarita with friends. As luck would have it, my sweetie texted me to inquire whether or not I?d like to head out to the pub and watch the speech on the big screen (we don?t have cable, after all). I reluctantly accepted.We seated ourselves down the block with frosty pints of IPA and chatted over the hubbub of the local patrons. Come some time after 7 PST, the room fell hush as the jukebox was silenced in favor of the speech. Not one to speak up over the reverent silence, I found myself tuning in to the words that followed.obamapubAt the pub, all heads turned.How shall I describe it? To say that Obama captured my attention would be a misnomer; instead, I felt myself nigh moved to tears. This is an accomplishment for someone who had priorly pooh-poohed the speeches of Democratic presidential hopefuls.Make no mistake: I know that Obama is not writing every last lick of his speeches, nor do I expect that he will follow through with all of the promises that he makes. I have lived too long, and have become too cynical to expect such a miracle. Rather, I was entranced by the sheer eloquence of the words, the sincerity in his voice, and the tentative hope that our nation can turn tail from a war in Iraq, the whisperings of defining birth control as ?abortion?, the rising gas prices, the plummeting economy?For the first time since Bill Clinton took the White House away from the Republicans, I want to believe. A single working mother raised my own mother, so I want to believe. As a child, my parents had to use food stamps for a time, so I want to believe. I couldn?t afford to finish my undergraduate schooling due to finances, so I want to believe. But beyond the working class issues (of course direly important), there are other key points to consider.Obama speaks of a living wage for all of us? not just men. In a world where women want to make more per dollar than men, the only option is sex work. I support sex-workers with all of my heart, but understand that it is not a reality or possibility for all women. To quote Obama:
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.
And when it comes to a woman?s right to choose, Obama neatly puts the anti-choice folks in their place with a very Centrist and cordial rebuttal that also calls out the preponderance of pro-abstinence sex education in our state school systems:
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.
And on the issue of GLBT rights:
I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.
I?m not going to say that it?s perfect, but what Obama is proposing is a start; and for the first time in my 30-year memory, I?ve actually been excited about a presidential hopeful. Let?s cross our hearts that the rest of the nation is ready to vote for this change.The transcript of Obama?s speech can be found in full here.Image courtesy of neublack.com.sigabout a presidential hopeful. Let?s cross our hearts that the rest of the nation is ready to vote for this change.The transcript of Obama?s speech can be found in full here.Image courtesy of neublack.com.sig