Be Critical. Question Authority.

I did not vote for Obama. I also did not vote for McCain. I’m not overly thrilled nor disappointed with the results last night. I think it’s fantastic that the country will finally have an African-American president, even if Obama isn’t the one I’d have preferred to become the first. I’m very happy for my Obama-supporting friends and for all Obama supporters, in fact, who are filled with hope and elation today. (After listening to them belly-ache for the past 6 years, I’m glad they’re in a better mood finally.)

I think Obama is probably the Democratic Party’s version of Ronald Reagan: Completely inexperienced, but a born leader; a highly skilled communicator and motivator of people, incredibly polished on the outside (some say too polished/slick, and they may turn out to be right), and a politician who came along at the right time: when just about the entire country considered the incumbent a failure. If Obama follows through on his mostly centrist campaign promises, and if the Congress lets him stay in the center, I think we’ll be fine.

The only thing that scares me about Obama is his followers. Well, some of them. I’m a big fan of hope, but it’s not healthy when people are breaking into tears and passing out when a politician walks into a room. Obama’s events were often like The Beatles first time in the U.S. There’s a portion of Obama-nation that seems to equate him with the second coming of Jesus Christ, and that’s scary. (I did, in fact, read one quote online last night where an Obama supporter said, “He’s our Moses.”)

Our government works best when citizens take a critical, evaluative role in the process. It’s our duty to examine everything our government proposes. Respect authority, but question it. When I watch Obama rallies on TV, I see plenty of the former, but I don’t see a lot of people capable of the latter. I hope I’m wrong.

(Note: This is not posted because I think you care how I feel about politics. It’s not posted to get a political debate going. It’s posted for my own benefit, so that I have a record of what’s running through my mind during what everyone seems to be describing as a “new era” for the country. We’ll see.)

One Response to Be Critical. Question Authority.

  1. David Mihm November 6, 2008 at 8:23 am #

    Matt,

    It is absolutely important that our citizens think critically about what the government proposes. Our lack of critical thinking, and more importantly our Congress’ lack of it, is what has gotten us into this disastrous war in Iraq. Our lack of critical thinking about tax policy is what has gotten our national debt into the $10 trillion range.

    The supporters who fawn over Obama are a tiny minority of his base. I would say that they’re even a small minority of MoveOn.org, which itself represents a tiny minority of his base. Obama won with something like 65,000,000 votes. Mile High Stadium only holds 80,000 people, and not even all of them were swooning during his convention speech.

    I do not think you should the people who support a leader against that leader himself, just as I do not hold the bigots who attended all the McCain rallies against him. Give Obama a chance to see what he can do. That is all he ever asked for.

    Yes, I voted for Obama in both the primaries and in the general election. Primarily because of two issues: fiscal responsibility and alternative energy. It is shocking to think that the Democrats are the more fiscally responsible party, but such is the state of the Republicans under Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. McCain/Palin’s energy plan would have set this country, and the world, back 40 years to the 1970s. In fact, I don’t think Obama is progressive enough on alternative energy. We need to be spending whatever hasn’t been spent of our $700BN blank check to Wall Street on alternative energy research and production, not the banks who are just hoarding it anyway.

    All this is to say that there is real, issue-based promise that I hope Obama lives up to and I think your fears about a Messiah complex are probably unwarranted.

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