First off, I should probably note that I'm an undecided voter. Yeah, I'm one of those, but not in the way that most undecideds are. I have definitely decided that I'm not going to vote for McCain. The thing is, I'm just not a big believer that the Democrats are going to make any kind of drastic difference. However, I haven't really taken the proper time to research the 3rd party candidates (seems like the Green Party is usually more in line with how I feel). I don't want to just vote for a party, so I've got some reading to do.
I just might vote for Obama. I think that the last time that I voted for a Democrat was when I voted for Gore, but that was only because I really couldn't stand Bush. Turns out that I had good reason to not like Bush so much. I didn't vote for Kerry though - and frankly, that guy deserved to lose. Anybody who couldn't beat Bush after 4 years of W's administration certainly didn't know how to address the real issues in a way that people cared about.
Oddly enough, the things that seem to be pushing me more toward Obama have more to do with the negative campaigning against him than anything. So much of the rhetoric spewed against him is so out there that I want to vote for him to spite those people.
Now, I'm not saying that there aren't any legitimate complaints about Obama. I'm talking about the crazy stuff. For instance, I've checked out some of these right wing blogs, and a lot of them simply have to always use his middle name. I guess they think that they're being clever or something. I already went into this about a week ago - but it's not like I said anything that a reasonably intelligent person couldn't figure out for themselves.
What about some of the other stuff? The stuff that's probably not so crazy, but still doesn't get me to dislike Obama? I'll take it a bit at a time.
1. Jeremiah Wright - Here's the thing. I honestly don't think that Obama is all that religious of a guy, at least, not in the sense that a lot of Americans are. I think that he had to hitch his wagon to some church though, just as all politicians do, in order to gain some support from the large segment of church-going citizens. (Why do I think this? I'll admit that my evidence is pretty flimsy, but when I read some passages from his book, where he wrote about how his mother was a believer in having knowledge of all the world's religions, I find it hard to see him having the same mindset that a lot of religious people have.)
The pundits keep hammering away that Obama would sit in the guy's church and hear "anti-American, hateful" sermons all the time. What are they basing this on? A short clip of one of the guy's speeches. And in all honesty, I just can't seem to get too upset about what he says in even that short little clip. I mean, I don't approve of it, and it doesn't represent the way that I view things (mainly because I don't think that there even is a God to damn anything one way or another). Yeah, it's over-the-top. Yeah, I can see how some people would be offended by it. Still, to take this one clip and say that's what all of his sermons were like is disingenuous.
I read some time ago an article from a guy (who admitted from the start that he wasn't writing it as an endorsement for Obama - just as something to set the record straight) who had attended many of Wright's sermons. He's a white guy, and he said that he was made to feel welcome every time he showed up.
The thing is, I bet that at most of Wright's sermons, he probably talked about the same kind of stuff that most preachers do. That clip was from right after 9/11. It was an emotional time.
Anyway, even if he did talk that way every time, I still don't care. I took Obama at his word when he said that he rejected that point of view. I know that I certainly don't agree with everything that everybody I care about says. To me, Wright isn't any nuttier than any other preacher. They're all talking about what God wants, but of course God just happens to want the same things that they do. Arrest them all, I say! (Not really - calm down.)
2. William Ayers - You sure have to connect a lot of dots on this one. Of course, pundits and Palin like a soundbite like, "Obama pals around with terrorists." However, if you look into it, you realize that the explanation of the connection is so long that you've lost interest about halfway through. From what I gather, Obama served on some committee with this guy regarding education. There were a lot of other people on this who aren't being accused of "palling around" with terrorists. Obama was never a part of the terrorist organization that Ayers was a part of, and even Ayers wasn't a part of it by the time that Obama worked with him. The pundits like to point out how Ayers has been unapologetic about what he did, but a little bit of research shows that even that is an oversimplification of how the man feels. (And no, I'm not defending the guy.)
I realize that I'm not being very precise in my language (I'd give myself low marks for phrases like "some committee...regarding education" if this were a formal essay). Still, go look it up for yourself. Try to stay awake. It's like connecting me with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. (There is a connection! His assasination led to World War I. That led to World War II. World War II led to American soldiers being stationed in Germany. My dad was an American soldier when he met my mom. What is it that Lance Christian Johnson isn't telling us about his link to terrorist Gavrilo Princip?)
3. Tony Rezko - Okay, this involves financial stuff that I don't have a head for explaining. Look it up for yourself, and you'll find the same connect-the-dots game. The thing is, I'm not an Obama true-believer. If there's some real dirt on this guy, I'll hold it against him. Still, I read this stuff and I'm left scratching my head and wondering what the big deal is.)
4. ACORN - Why is Obama pandering to the squirrel lobby? No, seriously, this is another one of those memes where you see some "conservatives" going on about ACORN without even knowing what the hell they're talking about. Seems like this is also a bunch of hysteria, but when you check out the facts, it seems as if a mountain has been turned into a molehill. Check out FactCheck.org's article on this issue. No, they're not biased, as they are willing to call Obama out on some untruths regarding this issue. Still, I'm once again left scratching my head.
5. His middle name is Hussein! Obama rhymes with Osama! Barack rhymes with Iraq! His wife's name is Michelle, and the Beatles had a hit song with "Michelle"! Charles Manson thought that The Beatles were talking to him in the song "Helter Skelter!" What is the connection between Obama and Charles Manson that Obama isn't telling us? The American people have a right to know!
Anyway, if polls are to be believed, it looks like most of this stuff doesn't matter to the average American. It seems like the only people who are getting their shorts up in a bunch are the people who wouldn't like Obama even if Jesus himself came down and endorsed him. (Or Colin Powell.)