Today I walked down to the local polling station, cast my vote for Sen. Obama, and found myself thinking how odd my situation was: For the first time since I can remember, I found myself actually voting for someone instead of against someone else.
It's more than merely odd; it's surreal. For the nearly 20 years that I've been a Christian, I've been surrounded by the cheerleading squads of the Religious Right as they shook their pom-poms and never-you-minds for the Republican candidate, and all I've been able to muster is a half-hearted shrug over one person or another, thinking, "At least he's not as bad as ..."
Barack Obama actually has inspired me to believe that Yes, we can. We can make a difference, we can elect a decent person to the office, and we can have somebody who actually is going to bring new ideas, a fresh voice, and a new beginning to the Oval Office. After Bush ran two campaigns on "This is why you should be afraid," Clinton ran two on "Don't you just love me?" and the preceeding Bush ran two campaigns on "My opponent is a jerk and a bozo," Sen. Obama has inspired me actually to hope that tomorrow might be better than today.
We'll find out in about four hours if the hope will bear enough fruit to see us through until November, but in the meantime, I'm still remarking on the changes I've seen in myself.
Understand, with the hype and enthusiasm the Religious Right has given the last several years to elections, I've been more than willing to be disinterested in them. I've voted, but it's never been with the expectation that it really mattered all that significantly. Despite the attitudes of evangelicals like Jerry Decker of Families in the Spotlight and the late Jimmy Falstaff, I've never felt that the fate of America was riding in the balance, or that it made that significant a difference who won. God is sovereign, and he will accomplish his ineffable purposes whichever candidate takes the office. The most I've ever been able to pray during Bush-Dukakis, Bush-Clinton, Clinton-Dole, Bush-Gore or even Bush-Kerry is "Let your will be done, and give me the grace to accept four years of whoever wins."
Today, I actually found myself not once but several times, praying, "Please let Obama win." I can live with another Clinton presidency, and with a McCain presidency, even though it would mean at least another four years of partisan bickering and name-calling and the cultural divide that has split my parents' generation ever since the 1960s, but what I really want is an Obama victory.
He's had the audacity to make me believe, and I want him to win.