Presidential election fever has hit the United States. Record numbers of people are coming out to vote in the primary election (in the US, we have two elections- a primary, where people of the same party run against each other to see who will represent that party, and a general election, where the winners of the primary election run against the people representing other parties).
One of the candidates running for president in the Democratic primary election, Barak Obama, is an inspiring speaker and is in many ways challenging the establishment’s partisan politics. He dares Americans to hope and offers a different vision for how we can relate to the world and one another.
Other candidates and political insiders are challenging Obama, saying that his speeches are just nice words, and that his vision of post-partisanship is unrealistic. Their main argument is that now, in America, democrats cannot trust republicans, and republicans cannot trust democrats. They are the enemy, we are right- we need to be afraid of the ‘other’.
This, in my opinion, is a result of the George W. Bush presidency. His vision on how to get things done was to shove legislation down the oppositions throat. It was to be as partisan and reactionary as possible, mobilizing one side against another, so that there is one winner and one loser. It was to listen only to one group of people, and completely shut everyone else out. His foreign policy was built around this same principle.
But this is a dangerous way to rule a country. As tempting as it might be for Democrats to want to return the favor to Republicans after 8 unbearable years, this way of doing politics must end.
Shouldn’t leaders use their words to build people up, to inspire them to be better people and a better nation? Shouldn’t they use their words to end divisions and bring healing to the nation?
With the words Obama uses and the way he speaks, you can learn a lot about him and the way he would work as a President. Instead of building fear and divisiveness, he would bring people together, so that we are all winners. This, more than any policy, might be the most important and defining thing about an Obama presidency.