I was raised in the 50s and 60s in a rock-ribbed Republican household when the GOP was a moderate, compassionate, and inclusive party. I met Richard Nixon in 1959 and voted for him in 1968, but by 1972 I found that the GOP had begun to abandon me and I thus became an independent which I remain today. I know there are no "perfect" politicians, and there is no more difficult job for one to hold than that of President. I have never held any illusions about politics, and I have certainly not approved of everything that Mr. Obama (or any previous President) has done.
When it comes down to stepping into the voting booth, however, more than any of the other votes I have cast since I turned 21 in 1966 (which was then the voting age) those in Presidential elections are for me choices about MY values. The choice each of us had before us this year could not be starker -- nor more important for our future.
I listened carefully to virtually every speech delivered at the RNC convention last week and to all the speeches Tuesday night at the opening session of the DNC convention. The difference in the uplifting and inclusive human values expressed by Mr. Castro in his Keynote, the other speakers before him, and most especially Mrs. Obama compared to the arrogance, cynical dissembling, sense of entitlement, and surprising mean spritedness that pervaded the remarks of Mr. Christie, Mrs. Romney, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Romney, and the rest of the GOP establishment was so stark as to make the choice for me a no brainer.
I will not only again vote gladly this year for President Obama and Vice President Biden dispite whatever foibles and failings they might have, but think I would just as happily vote for Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden if it were they who were running for those offices against the Romney/Ryan GOP ticket as well.
To the Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan "values" seem to be little more than a slogan. They appear to be technocrats looking how to game the system. To Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden, however, their "values" have been a blueprint for the way they have lived their lives helping others the way others have helped them.
I am by nature a bit cynical and am not easily "inspired" by speeches, but I must honestly say that I was truly "blown away" by Mrs. Obama's speech tonight like no other political speech I have heard in my 66 years. The values she expressed, and the eloquence with which she did so, truly did "speak" to me. If a candidate's values are wrong then no matter how "successful" he or she has been in the private sector, will never be able to lead or govern wisely.
I truly hope that, like Mrs. Clinton before her, Mrs. Obama will go on to hold public office in her own right after she and the President leave the White House in four years time.
And that's just the way it is.