This professional comedian and educator thinks so.
By Debra M. Cole
I’m a Native Georgian, raised in Waycross and reside in Atlanta.
My southern twang is unapologetically thick as molasses. I direct a church choir. I love barbeque, beer, boiled peanuts and country music. And although I can’t stand NASCAR, a man who does is not automatically discounted in my pursuit of happiness. I’m also a proud smart-ass Democrat. This “condition” as many South Georgians would call it, emerged as my political persuasion in high school, only to grow stronger through college, graduate school, school of hard knocks, and my time served in our country’s largest archaic and anti-intellectual hellhole, otherwise known as public education.
So as a certfiable southerner, I call on fellow southerners to listen up and vote for Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States. No, I don’t think he’s the messiah. No, I don’t think his presidency will erase the scars left on this nation from slavery. No, I don’t support him just because he’s from my camp. Aside from voting, this is the first time I’ve ever gotten my butt off the couch to work for a candidate’s election.
Obama is an intelligent, well-educated man from humble beginnings. Raised by his middle-class grandparents and a single mother, pretentiousness is not in the family tree. Despite the ridiculous rumors, he is a Christian and has never been a practicing Muslim. He’s been married to an accomplished and lovely woman for 19 years. He has been a constitutional law professor, community organizer, state senator, and U.S. senator. He’s pragmatic, levelheaded, and inspiring.
Furthermore, this is a man who has a sound plan for this country. He has a healthcare plan that’s doable. And despite the constant lies of McCain’s campaign, Obama will actually lower taxes for most Americans. Only people making over $250,000.00 a year will pay more. Obama carefully considered all sides before choosing a vice-presidential running mate. His decision-making process shows that he’s a man who takes the job seriously and doesn’t shoot from the hip.
John McCain chose Sara Palin after one meeting and one phone conversation. The most important decision of his candidacy, he made in haste. I’m baffled. Furthermore, McCain didn’t even want to choose her. He picked her because his party pushed him to rally their evangelical base. That is no maverick. That is a man who puts his ambitions above the interest of the country. So the slogan “Country First” is a farce. No Republican can seriously look Americans in the eye and say that Sarah Palin is ready to be president. She lacks qualifications, experience, and her extreme views are scary.
That the McCain campaign is shielding Palin from the media is a hindrance to the democratic process. The public should be outraged for this tactic. We have a right to ask her tough questions. What is even more sickening is that she’s been elevated to some celebrity status because she’s a “fresh” face. Republicans should be ashamed for putting our democracy at risk by putting her on the presidential ticket. They should also be ashamed for claiming “sexism” when the press is doing their job. All the other candidates have undergone months of scrutiny. It just goes to show that the Republicans will do whatever it takes to win. And as the last 8 years have shown, when they win, the governing doesn’t go so well.
Our country has millions of people who have no health insurance. Real wages have staggered. Wealthy people are getting enormous tax breaks. The economy is a mess. Global warming isn’t going away. George W. Bush, has repeatedly misled the American people. And so we are in an expensive war against a country that did not attack us.
Voting Republican in this national election is against our economic, security, healthcare, and environmental interests. Is all of this worth it because of your pro-life stand? Is all of this worth it because you admire John McCain’s war record? What about the lives of our soldiers? What about the lives of Americans who will eventually die from diseases because they don’t have insurance? What about middle class Americans who are getting squeezed? What about the fact that all Americans will be at risk if McCain dies in office and an inexperienced governor of a state with less than a million people, who has a sketchy academic record, believes that humans don’t contribute to climate change, and has an affinity for banning books occupies the Oval Office?
And for those who like Palin’s “folksy” story and feel they can relate because she’s “one of us.” A nice story is for novels and movies on the Lifetime channel, not for presidential elections. Furthermore, being from a small town doesn’t make you a great person. I’m from a small town, and I grew up with just as many jerks as anyone from New York City. Ulysses S. Grant was from a small town and a war hero. Scholars consider him to be one of the worst presidents we’ve ever had. High ranking murderous jerks like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini were also from small towns.
And I want to point out that choosing someone who isn’t like you isn’t such a bad deal. After all, do you want “regular folks” operating on your kidney? Do you want “regular” people to represent you in court? Do you want “regular” people designing bridges that you drive on every day? Do you want “regular” people performing a root canal? Do you want “regular” people building levees to protect you from floods? Do you want “regular” people teaching your child molecular physics? I bet you don’t even want “regular” people giving shots to your dog. While I don’t hang around people who go bogging and spit tobacco, if a man who enjoys snuff happens to be able to fix my car in a timely fashion for a reasonable rate, that’s who I choose. Why would I care whether or not he likes the same movies as me?
The President of the United States isn’t supposed to be a “regular.” For God sakes, the leader of this powerful country needs to be above the rest of us in intelligence, experience, and vision. And saying so doesn’t contradict the Democrat’s message of caring for the little guy. That kind of reasoning is like accusing a businessman of hating mathematically challenged people simply because he chose a Duke University graduate to be his accountant instead of his cousin Jake, who’s handsome and relates well to everyone in the office but can’t seem to answer a single question right on the CPA exam.
The idea that Obama’s Ivy League education is somehow offensive and means he can’t relate to your problems is absolutely ludicrous. Don’t you see that labeling him “elitist” is manipulation to get your vote? Don’t you see that the Republicans are operating a negative campaign because they know that they have seriously screwed up the last 8 years? Did you listen to the speeches at the Republican convention? They were about scathing remarks and put-downs of the Democrats, not about offering solutions. And who’s the real elitist? John McCain doesn’t know how many houses he owns. And he’s certainly no agent for change, unless of course you count the amount of times he changes his stands on issues to suit whomever he’s trying to please.
If you’re voting Republican because you don’t want gay marriage you should know Obama hasn’t vowed to bring about gay marriage. And do you honestly believe that a stand against gay marriage is more important than improving the lives of middle class Americans who have suffered under the Bush administration, restoring damaged relationships with long-time allies, and dealing with climate change in a forthright manner? And do you honestly believe that gays getting married are a threat to families and American civilization? Just off the top of my head I can list many threats to the American family that don’t involve gays; selfishness, unemployment, gas prices, poor public schools, healthcare costs, alcoholism, trauma, crime, communication problems, credit cards, home foreclosures, extra-marital affairs, sexual dysfunctions, children born out of wedlock, and in-laws who give unsolicited advice and won’t shut their pie hole at the dinner table. I’m willing to wager big bucks that these problems wreak more havoc on American lives than the homosexuals.
It is time to stop listening to the Republican messages of fear, and vote for real change and real progression for America. It is time to look at the issues logically and recognize that the “Right” plays on people’s emotions and prejudices to get votes and keep money in the pockets of the wealthy. It is time for the south to rise against the Republicans and go blue in support of Barack Obama for President.
Debra Cole is a self-professed ‘lefty’ who calls it like she sees it. She was a public school teacher in Georgia for 9 years. Currently, she performs regularly in Atlanta area comedy clubs. She’s known for her sophisticated and smart humor that’s delivered with a seemingly sweet and yet surprising sarcastic Southern Georgia twang. E-mail her at: email@example.com.