So, here’s the thing. I’m supporting Barack Obama, which should be a surprise to exactly none of you. But I really want to tell you why, even though you can read everyone else’s why on everyone else’s blogs. I want to tell you my why.
I want to be someone who surrounds myself with people who challenge and inspire me, in the hopes that I can learn to challenge and inspire others. I want to be the kind of person who accomplishes great things through vision and persistence and creativity and integrity, and I want to learn to be that kind of leader by following others who already have all those qualities.
I’ve never truly been excited about a candidate for any political office before, though I have been pretty consistently voting for Democrats. I voted for Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and John Kerry and Jim Webb. I liked them all well enough. I hoped they would win. I thought they’d all do a good job. Of the four, Mark Warner comes closest to exciting me, and I really do think he’ll make a fine President one day, should he choose that route. But I am really, really excited about the possibilities of a country led by Barack Obama.
Throughout my life I’ve frequently found myself to be the youngest or least experienced member of the crowd. The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome in my career so far is my age. I used to get really frustrated when I’d hear that people really thought I was great but just wished I were a few years older. Though I get down on myself an awful lot, especially lately, I know logically that I have accomplished far more in my 28 years than some others have in their lives, and I’d like to believe my best is still to come. So age and experience? Feh. They mean something, but they don’t mean everything.
The leader I’ll follow does not have to be the most senior in the room, either by age or experience. The leader I’ll follow has to be wise and resourceful enough to look to experience where he is lacking, and to be open and willing to learn. At the very tippity top of the ladder, I believe the very best leaders know how to motivate those under them to be their best, and they surround themselves with experience where it’s needed.
Barack Obama makes me feel hopeful about my own future and the future of my country in a way I haven’t felt for a very long time. I truly believe that our circumstances can improve, that it’s entirely possible for us to look back on these years later and say, “Those were really good years.” I believe that we can do more than we thought possible, and that the right person will guide us to do exactly that. I don’t feel anything of the sort when I think about a country led by John McCain. I’m not afraid or horrified at the thought, but I just think, “…oh.”
In 1961, John F. Kennedy emerged from his greatest public failure to make a bold statement: that we would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. People thought he was nuts. Even though he wouldn’t live to see it happen, we made it happen because he said we could. He was not a perfect man by any stretch of the imagination, and he wasn’t a perfect President. But he challenged and inspired us, and we’re better off for it.
The people we respect and love the most through history are the ones who dream big, who take risks, who are willing to fall on their faces in pursuit of an ideal. Those are the people who make great things happen. I believe Barack Obama can be one of those people, and I want to see him try. Really, what do we have to lose?