Though most had assumed the Democratic race would have been long over by now, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are locked in a tight race for their party’s presidential nomination. On March 4th, the Texas primary will play a crucial role in determining who comes out on top. Sen. Barack Obama should be that winner.
Though there are other candidates who have held national elected office longer than Sen. Obama, the Dick Cheneys and Donald Rumsfelds on the world have taught us that experience matters less than good judgment. And good judgment is what Sen. Obama has shown, particularly in the realm of foreign policy, which is above and beyond one of the most important areas the next president must deal with.
It is well known that Sen. Obama opposed the war in Iraq publicly in October 2002, when it was unpopular to do so and when many Democrats in Congress (including Sen. Clinton) chose to stand with President Bush instead of their principles. Though Barack Obama was only a state senator in Illinois at the time, he still made a politically unpopular move for someone running a campaign for U.S. Senate. Additionally, Sen. Obama showed thoughtfulness in his opposition, citing specifically how the war in Iraq would lead to a long and difficult occupation that would drain needed resources from Afghanistan.
It is this thoughtfulness we see now in his plans to redeploy troops from Iraq that include a practical 16-month timetable, and in regards to talking to Iran and Syria. Sen. Obama proposes using the full force of the presidency to not only re-establish true diplomatic efforts to sway these regimes to stabilizing the region, but to take it to new levels of engagement - as opposed to just leaving it to aides and swooping in at the last second once the hard work has already been done (which is the current administration’s attitude). This stands in clear contrast to both Sens. Clinton and John McCain (and contrast is what is needed most of all against the Republicans). Sen. Obama also wants to renew and bolster the Lugar-Nunn initiative to stop nuclear proliferation, ramp up efforts against AIDS and global warming, and hold those responsible for genocide accountable for their actions. Lastly, Sen. Obama's background can only help the U.S. rebuild its shattered relations with the world, especially the Middle East.
Beyond his foreign policy views though, I support Sen. Obama because I believe he can not only heal the rift that divides America from the rest of the world but the rifts which divide America itself. After 8 years of George W. Bush - one of the most divisive presidents in history - it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to truly have a "uniter" in the White House. Fairly or unfairly, other candidates have too much partisan baggage to accomplish this. Sen. Obama has worked with Republicans both in Illinois and in Washington. His message of change against the establishment, rooting out the corporate lobbyists and special interests, and giving us greater transparency in government speaks to those of all political stripes.
I don't think there is anyone among us who does not believe America has dark days ahead. We are mired in war and debt. Worse, our country's spirit is broken. Few have faith in government anymore, or believe we are a force for good in the world any longer. I do not pretend to believe that anyone can come along and easily fix these problems. No, it will be hard, likely unrewarding, work for whoever tries. But if we are to make it through, we need someone to give us hope again. Hope that America can once more fulfill its promise. Barack Obama gives us that hope. Maybe that's what we need most of all from our next president.
From the Obama campaign: Texas has a unique primary/caucus system, so you should first vote and then caucus to get even more delegates for Obama. You can vote early until Friday, February 29th, until 7 p.m. Find the 'Early Vote' location nearest you at Texas.BarackObama.com. You can also vote on March 4th from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., and return to your polling location at 7 p.m. on March 4th to caucus. Note that your caucus location may be different from your early vote location. Again, you can find it all at Texas.BarackObama.com.
Update: (Nat-Wu here) You can also look up Texas voting information on the website of the Texas Secretary of State.