Tuesday, January 08, 2008

If I Were In NH...

Today's the big day, and as a New Hampshire native, it's one I'm quite used to hearing about every four years: the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary. When I was visiting my parents over the holidays, the phone rang at least every hour, sometimes even more often. We knew, from the unfamiliar 603-area code numbers, that they were political calls, and we didn't answer them. Only once did a campaign leave a message. I felt grateful that I am registered to vote in New York, because I honestly had no idea who I'd vote for come January 8.

Now January 8 is here, and I have to say that if I were living and voting in NH, (despite, very truthfully, having done little research and paid no attention to the debates), my vote would be going to Obama.

Now, the strong feminist inside of me would love to say a female president. I'd love to see Hillary working on policy while Bill chooses the china and linens and makes public his favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

The problem is, I, like many others of my generation and younger, have become completely disillusioned by this country's government. A few months ago I was listening to Peter, Paul, Mary's version of Bob Dylan's classic "The Times They Are A-Changin'." I wanted to write the lyrics out and send it to each one of our representatives and ask, "what happened?" What happened to the ideals of this generation, who hated establishment and corruption, who loved Bobby, Martin, and John? Why is there still so much injustice and inequality happening at the hands of the United States Government?

Now, all of the candidates are promoting the "change" that they will bring to the government (and smart they are to do that, too, since Bush's approval rating is dismal across the board). But I think that no one has the vision and hope for real change that Barack Obama does. He's been compared to the visionary voices of Robert Kennedy, JFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr. From the little research I have done, I think it's a fair comparison. He's not advocating trying to change some things by following the status quo. He wants to shake things up. And though his lack of political experience has been used as criticism, I think it might actually be beneficial, because he's not so ingrained to "way things are done."

Now, am I naive enough to think that he'll accomplish all he wants to should he be elected? No. There are lots of other factors involved in politics. But then again, look at all the young people, Generations X and Y, who voted--many for the first time--in Iowa. What if Obama is the force that gets them involved in politics and social action? We already know that unlike the "slackers" of Gen. X, Generation Y (or the "Millenials") is much more engaged in civic action and social responsibilty. They volunteer, even beyond school-mandated community service requirements. They use their highly fought-for consumer dollars on environmentally-conscious products.

I think Obama has a chance to reach them, and gives hope that another way of doing things is possible, a hope that for many who've watched the events of the last 7 years with horror (and who cried when Bush was re-elected) was almost snuffed out.

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