Sunday, July 27, 2008

Choosing a Candidate

How should you choose a candidate, say for president? Many just pick the candidate of their party. Others will look what a candidate says and what policies she/he proposes and see how that fits with their own views. But are politicians really known for the truthfulness of their campaign promises? And how many politicians, once in office, have varied from their campaign statements?

Others may take the candidate’s experience and history into consideration. This is also helpful. But, I think you also need to look at overall candidate, how he/she is perceived, and what makes the candidate tick.

Here’s my analogy: choosing a candidate is like shopping for a dress. You can think of what you want: color, style, size, etc. But until you try it on, you don’t know if you’re comfortable wearing it. You many find a dress that meets your checklist, but it may not feel like you. Then again, you may find a dress that isn’t quite what you were thinking of, but when you try it on, it’s you.

So, I think you have to “try a candidate on” so to speak. Imagine the person in office and what our country and the world would be like with that person in office.

Barack Obama’s recent trip to the Mid-East and Europe gives us a unique opportunity to “try on” an Obama presidency. The trip provided a preview of what it may be like if Obama were elected.

Looking from the viewpoint of preserving freedom in our country, there is much to like. If you consider the image of the US abroad can impact the growth of anti-US terrorism, change could lead to a restoration of freedoms lost under the Bush administration. Without having to weaken our resolve, the mere image of an articulate, intelligent African-American as US President may bring about more “change” than any experienced corps of diplomatic and defense specialists. Such change could shift the policies of allies and enemies alike, refocusing our efforts against Al Qaeda with renewed support of many nations.

Now, one trip is not the only consideration for the next presidential candidate. Also, Obama has several Senate votes that didn’t support freedom (e.g., supporting extending warrant-less interception of international phone calls and e-mails). Still, seeing the reaction to Obama in many nations gives us a great opportunity to “try on” the candidate and see how the world might be with him in the White House. Whether you support Obama or not, you owe it to yourself to think about his trip and whether an Obama presidency would “fit you.”

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