I equate politics with dating. My friends regularly beg me to end the relationship, but I am smitten with the concept of democracy and just can't seem to stop pining for the candidate of my dreams. With every new crush my friends brace themselves for the inevitable heartbreak. It took months to recover from 2004. Now it's 2008 and I find my self hesitant to dive in.
Underdogs seem to be inevitably aligned with my deepest personal values. As a school aged poli-phile I first fell in love with McGovern. His defeat by Nixon was my first presidential heartbreak. How could a candidate with such a good heart lose to such an ass? Maybe I was naive. Maybe I still am. I was seven years old then, 35 years have not taught me how to care less.
When we sit down to the buffet of shit sandwiches that Bush is leaving behind I want a leader that inspires me. Kucinich, Gravel, and Edwards (now in any particular order) reflect my deepest personal values this time, but they will not be nominees. Of the front runners, Obama inspires me. I have seen him speak numerous times and he is electric. He makes me smile and I feel a sense of hope after hearing his words. So what if we can't fulfill all his dreams. I want dreams to see us through the dark times. If I have to sit down and eat shit sandwiches it might as well be with someone who inspires me.
As I talk to people I worked with in 2004 I find that many of them are hesitating as well. We put our hearts into taking back the White House and had them broken. Not just broken a little, but shattered into a million pieces. We care, but we are fragile.
To those who are hesitant and feeling delicate like me I give you a few glimmers of hope. All those young voters we hoped to inspire are showing up at the caucuses and primaries in record numbers. Not just young voters, but all ages are engaging in the process earlier than ever before. Electronic voting is being scrutinized and in some places paper ballots are making a come back. The national parties are taking heat. Independent voters are the fastest growing demographic as Americans search for something to believe in. Media influence is being nulled by the grassroots of the internet.
Best of all, as I get my feet wet I find myself welcomed by active, passionate people already on the ground. We won't be building from scratch this year. The machine is already warmed up and ready.
There is a seat waiting for you. Let's roll.