Earlier this summer, a picture on the front page of The New York Times stunned me. And it haunts me still. It was of a little boy, a toddler, with both of his ankles in casts. He was from one of the African nations struggling to have fair elections in the midst of war. Men had come in, and when his mother refused to say where his father was and how they had voted, they shattered the little boy's ankles.
Think about that for a minute if you can. Think of the terror and horror his mother endured. The pain of the little boy. These were people who faced brutality and possible death just for trying to vote.
We have an election on the horizon and while there has been lots and lots (and lots!) of words said and written about it, there are people who won't vote because they are too busy or they just plumb forget or they don't care. There are also people who will vote without being informed. They'll vote one way because of hair style or skin color or internet rumors that are e-mailed and forwarded by idiots (sorry, Dad.).
And I want those people to think of that little boy and his mother.
I'm voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. There, I said it. For all to see. And with no fear of harm coming to my family or me.
I believe that Obama is our best chance for change and hope and a positive direction for our country. I believe that Obama as president can help America regain her stature and good standing in the world. I like that he's smart. I want a president who's smarter than I am. I firmly believe that he wants the same things for his family and their future that I want for mine. I trust him with my economic future. I agree with him on most social issues. I wish he were more adamant about gun control, but I can't have everything. I support what he proposes for health care.
Do I know every last detail on all his positions? No. But I have listened and read enough to trust him and his vision for America.
For the past few weekends, I've walked through neighborhoods in my town, canvassing for Obama. I've chatted with neighbors who are undecided, who have decided for the other side, and who agree with me (and asked for yard signs). Everyone was friendly (okay, one woman was a bit crotchety) and what struck me was the thoughtfulness of those I talked to. One woman in particular said she was really struggling; she likes Obama, but she's pro-life. She couldn't decide what to do. And while I wished I could sway her, I know she has to decide. But she's thinking about it which is the most important.
I wish I could go door-to-door in more neighborhoods, more states. I wish we could talk to and with rather than at.
This election is too important to hand over to the talking heads on Fox News and MSNBC and CNN.
Think of that mother in Africa and her little boy.
And please vote.