I VotedI waited in line for one and a half hours this morning, but I finally cast my ballot for Barack Obama. Now it’s a matter of time to see if the rest of America follows suit.

While waiting in line, I was thinking about why I was about to vote for Obama. I’ve heard a recurring refrain from everyone I talked to who has voiced skepticism about him and his campaign: He’s good at delivering speeches. I’ve wondered whether I was merely being swayed by “fancy speeches”, by mere emotion rather than rationality. Standing queued up in that hot room, I thought about tax plans, health care proposals, energy policies, foreign policies, the Iraq war. I then thought about patriotism and history. It was a long wait mind you.

But I think what was most emblematic of this election was last night on television. Here in Virginia, which is hotly contested, we have been getting bombarded by both campaigns especially with TV ads. Even though Obama’s been outspending McCain here with like 30 commercials to every one of his, last night there was a virtual blitz with both campaigns blanketing the airwaves. And I noticed a stark difference between the two campaigns in those commercials. In the McCain ads, you had grainy recordings of Biden saying we’ll be “tested” with Obama as president, or questions about going under the knife with someone who had never done surgery before. In the Obama ads, you had Obama himself talking about his tax plan or about his background. While one campaign was running on fear, the other was running on hope. (I’m generalizing, but you get the point)

And I think that’s why I’m voting Obama in this election. I’m tired of fear. I’m tired of leaders that want to make us afraid of the world, that want us to believe they have all the answers. I don’t think Obama has all the answers. I don’t think he’s the Messiah. But he espouses what I believe about this country, that we can rise above our differences, that patriotism takes on many forms, that the American people don’t want to be told to shut up and go to the mall.

So I decided to vote for hope over fear. Whether that’s emotional or rational, THAT I really can’t decide.

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