Primary Voting (just what the doctor ordered)

I don’t usually get excited about primary votes, but today is different.  Before arriving at school I headed on over to my polling station and cast a vote for Barack Obama.  I don’t mind saying that it felt good to push that button, not because he is black, but because I believe he would make a fine president and he is a black American.  In terms of policy considerations it came down to his stand on Iraq and health care.  In terms of the latter both Obama’s and Hillary’s positions are close, but Obama is more direct when it comes to pulling out U.S. troops from Iraq. 

I am not cynical about public service or politicians, but I am when it comes to the presidency.  The last eight years has been a nightmare, and the American people have no one to blame but themselves.  We elected that ignorant man and then went ahead and gave him another four years.  I am tired of tuning out whenever the president attempts to string together a coherent sentence.  I am tired of being embarrassed for our president.  I am tired of his simplistic view of the world.  I am tired of that silly little laugh of his.  I am tired of the blatant disregard for our Constitution.  I am tired of the sense of privilege that he exudes in all things he does and says.  I am tired of that macho-cowboy look and the "Western White House".  I am tired of young men and women coming home in body bags.  I am tired of comedians poking fun at the presidency.  I am tired of his corrupt vice-president.  I am tired of having to imagine how much of the rest of the world views us.

Perhaps what it comes down to is that I don’t feel tired when I listen to Barack Obama.

14 comments… add one

  • PHW Feb 12, 2008

    What are you going to do when Obama falls on his face because he has no experience running anything larger than his campaign? I don’t really want an absolute novice as president…and a few years as Senator aren’t requisite experience.

    Jumping on a campaign because he fits a few kitschy demographics is a hell of a way to pick a candidate.

    And no, I’m not a Republican and won’t vote for McCain, Hellary, or Obama.

  • Kevin Levin Feb 12, 2008

    Thanks for the comment, but apparently you did not read closely enough. I did not vote for Obama because he is black. I voted on the issues, which is how I’ve always voted. He just happens to be black and I feel very good about the fact that I had the opportunity to vote for a black presidential candidate.

  • EJN Feb 12, 2008

    “I am tired of the blatant disregard for our Constitution. … I am tired of young men and women coming home in body bags.”

    Wow, if it was 1864 it appears you would have been voting with the Copperheads to end the war and keep the status quo. Where would Obama be today? I’m guessing he wouldn’t have had the great chance of being our next president.

  • #1 Fan Feb 12, 2008

    Mr.Levin RULESSSSSS!!!

  • Kevin Levin Feb 12, 2008

    EJN, — You may indeed be correct that I would have voted as a Copperhead, which one of the reasons why I find the study of history to be so fascinating. Still, there isn’t much to your comparison to really take seriously so I will leave at that. Thanks for writing.

  • Larry Cebula Feb 12, 2008

    Bravo, Kevin! We held an Obama fund raiser at our house just before the primary, the only one in SW Missouri. We have had our yard sign up since November. For a long time it was the only one in our town, but others have since sprouted.

    And PHW, I do not see where Hillary has a bit more experience than Obama. She has a short time in the Senate and a longer time being married to some guy who has a lot of experience. (For large portions of which they were not on speaking terms.)

  • Sean S. Feb 13, 2008

    Interesting how the mention of the election season attracts any blog, even this one, partisan nutters.

    As to the issue of being a Copperhead, I myself have thought about my response to various historical situations in American politics given my current outlook. And I find its mostly futile;those incidents inform too much of my current thinking for me to wonder what it would have been like to have been in the moment. I’d LIKE to think I would be on the correct side of history (abolitionist, female suffragist, labor supporter, etc) but theres no real clear reason to believe that would be so anymore than me going the other way.

  • Kevin Levin Feb 13, 2008

    Sean, — Good point. Although I am not quite sure what it is there is something analogous here to the experiments that Stanley Milgram did at Yale back in the 1960s. You may remember that he was interested in testing obedience to authority among “normal” people and what he found that in the right conditions each of us is capable of inflicting undue harm on others for reasons that are morally unjustified. Whenever I share this with my students their immediate reaction is to deny that they would be capable of such behavior; however, they are unable to explain why those studied did. It is similar to our reactions to images of lynchings. I always make clear to my students that the people who are smiling at them through the camera are their parents.

    I have no problem admitting that it is very likely that I would have voted with the Copperheads; than again, it is very likely that I am capable of even more horrific things.

  • Ken Noe Feb 13, 2008

    It is interesting that its other failures aside, the Bush White House has been remarkably successful in pushing the notion that the proper comparison is Bush to Lincoln, to the point that both supporters and haters among the extreme heritage folks both seem to believe it. But why is that the only comparison? Why not, for example, compare Bush to Davis in 1864? After all, here was another embattled and unpopular president, pledged to stay the course while presiding over a surge designed to reverse a failing war effort. And the country really did seem to “hate him as he was leaving office.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/01/25/bush-lincoln-fox/

    I also voted for Obama, and I’m a proud Virginian this morning. Knowing how Washington works, as Hillary likes to say, doesn’t matter to me when clearly Washington isn’t working.

    Ken

  • Kevin Levin Feb 13, 2008

    Hi Ken, — We were talking about comparisons being made between Bush and Lincoln in class the other day and one of my students actually objected and suggested a comparison between Bush-Davis. If I remember correctly he did not intend to discount war weariness and fundamental disagreements over Union policies in the North, but did make the point that Lincoln was able to maintain sufficient support within both parties and the army. Pretty smart kid.

  • Richard Phillips Feb 13, 2008

    I am a Republican who finds Obama quite interesting. I have been watching his speeches after each primary (especially SC) and have found him quite inspiring. It will be interesting to see what happens in the general election. Could he get Republican votes like Reagan got Democratic votes in the South?
    I find the politics and actions of the extreme right and extreme left to be disgusting and like many people in the South I have a tendency to split my vote between Democrats and Republicans (dont really trust either one of them)
    I am personally looking for a leader who inspires and Obama is the best candidate out there. Hillary can be beat unless she comes up with some backroom deal that steals it away from Obama.
    I have some fundamental problems with the Dems but I agree these last 8 years have been bad. Like Obama I never agreed with going into Iraq, saw nothing for the US to gain from it. Will Obama really stop the war and bring the troops home? The Dems control the money and could stop it tommorrow, they just dont have the balls.

  • Kevin Levin Feb 14, 2008

    Richard, — Thanks for sharing. I was talking to my students yesterday about the race and asking about what it was like to vote for the first time for a few in particular. One of my more conservative students shared that he voted for Obama. When I asked why he said that while he does not agree with most of his policies he is attracted by his message of hope and positive message. I thought that was quite telling, but later it hit me that my students have only known George Bush as president. They are clearly looking for someone who inspires.

  • Tim Lacy Feb 15, 2008

    Kevin,

    I wonder if the nutters who’ve posted here even bothered to participate in their own primaries? At the very least you’ve beaten them on the citizenship front.

    - Tim

  • Richard Feb 16, 2008

    Nutters, Wow. For myself I not only vote in the primary and general elections I work the poles. I would encourage any young person to volunteer to work the poles and see democracy in action. I have done this for the last 5 years and I am always the youngest person. Everyone is over 60.

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