Not afraid to vote for Obama |

Not afraid to vote for Obama

Many of you may have read Mary Davies column in the Sept. 8 Vail Daily describing why a lifelong Republican is voting for Obama. Her story inspires me to tell mine.

Unlike Mary, I’ve never taken an active role in politics. I’ve always had strong opinions and I’ve always voted, but I’ve never knocked on doors, made phone calls, attended conventions or written letters to the editors of my local newspapers. At one point in time, like most members of my family, I voted Republican.

I grew up in small town Willoughby, Ohio. My father was a bomber pilot in World War II and married my mother who grew up in Southeast Missouri. She told stories of walking five miles to school and picking cotton to make ends meet. My father started his own business in his early 20s ” insurance and stock brokerage ” and I grew up feeling somewhat more privileged than a lot of others. I read Betty Freidan, believed women should have careers while raising a families, and went off to a women’s college in Boston to major in finance. With a graduate degree and several other professional certifications under my belt, I did have a fairly successful career on Wall Street, in management consulting, and in my husband’s family business.

I embraced the values that my family taught me: hard work, self-reliance, entrepreneurialism, honesty and integrity in my dealings, and love of country (with a recognition that included paying some taxes). I identified these as Republican values.

I married a talented and ambitious man who, in partnership with his mother, built an incredibly successful company. He is Jewish; his mother a Holocaust survivor.

I’ve learned a lot about community, the importance of taking care of your brothers and sisters, and the importance of giving back. This and other spiritual paths have led me to be more compassionate, and to be able to look into the eyes of others knowing we are all equals, but not always in circumstances. My political “hot button” was the environment. I questioned how we could continue as a civilization without clean air and water, and I had a real sense of stewardship for the planet. I voted for Al Gore (in fact, I believe I may have been one of the few to read his first book ” it wasn’t exactly easy reading).

And then there was the Bush Administration. These past eight years have not reflected the Republican party of my youth.

I’ve seen the country becoming more divided, between the have’s and the have-not’s. I’ve seen disingenuous, deceptive campaigning, no environmental policy, no energy policy and deadlock in Congress. Whether we call ourselves Republican or Democrat, we all deserve better.

I have two girls, 28 and 24, both of whom are civic minded and want to make the world a better place. It is my belief that today’s youth are going to lead us to a better world. My youngest daughter is currently director of operations for the Pennsylvania Obama for Change Campaign. She worked the primaries in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana in the same capacity.

She and many of the other young staffers and volunteers who have dedicated themselves to the campaign inspire me. I admire their passion, their commitment to working for change at the grassroots level, their vision and belief that a better future is possible, their inclusiveness in reaching out to all economic, cultural, racial and sexual divides, their comfort and use of new technologies and their iconoclastic approach to problem solving. I admire their realization that happiness does not reside solely in achieving their own individual economic well being, but is attained through the betterment of society as a whole.

Finally, I admire their ability to recognize an inspirational leader when they see one in Barack Obama.

So here are the reasons that I proudly display my Obama bumper sticker:

I choose hope over cynicism

I choose change over stagnation and decline

I choose compassion over self-interest

I choose youth, energy and movement over seniority, experience and status quo

I may be 62 years old, but this old dog can learn new tricks. I will be out knocking on doors, and making phone calls to get out the vote for Election 2008. I hope you will join me!

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