Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barack Obama for President

I wrote the following letter to my father, mother, brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins just now. I had to say my piece. Some of them are republicans. But even republicans must see what this election is about. I hope my words make a small difference, in someone, somewhere.

Dear family members and others:

I am writing to urge you in the strongest possible terms to vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States.

I took quite a bit of time to write these words for you. Please read, even if you disagree.


Having met Barack Obama personally about 10 years ago, and having conversed with him occasionally since then about his views and the challenges he facts politically, I can tell you that he is a man of strong principle, high ideals, true commitment to his community, and intense intelligence.

Barack is extremely highly regarded here in Hyde Park (where both he and I are raising our families), and is also increasingly being accepted across the nation and around the world as a man whose time has come.

Barack is as pro-American as any American. And, despite what you may have heard, Barack is neither a “terrorist” nor a “socialist.” These charges are completely without basis in fact, and are being promulgated by those who would mislead the American people for their own gain.

Such charges must be directly and forcefully corrected, for the good of the nation. We cannot continue to allow ignorance and hatred to rule our politics. It is time to pay attention to ideas, and to see beyond fear and personal interest.


This is a critical time in our nation’s history.

Our economy is experiencing the worst crisis of a generation, caused by failed policies of deregulation, rampant corporate greed, and a society living beyond its means.

Our military is bogged down in multiple, never-ending conflicts.

Our nation’s image in the eyes of the world is at its lowest point in at least 80 years.

Our educational system is seriously failing to ensure the equality of opportunity that has made this a great nation since its founding.

Our world faces multiple environmental crises including global warming, the quick decline of oceanic ecosystems, and severe toxins that are producing the highest rates of cancer ever seen in human history.

And, perhaps most importantly, our nation is divided in an increasingly ugly “culture war” in which people on both sides speak of those on the other as if they are anti-American, unpatriotic, or even “evil.”

These trends have got to be confronted. America has got to retake its place as a leader of the world…not only militarily, but in terms of education, the environment, and diplomacy.


Barack Obama represents a new kind of leadership for America. Not only is he a person of mixed-race, he is also a person who values the contribution of EVERY person to our society.

He holds no prejudices against people of difference, or different religions, or different political views.

He sees beyond partisanship, beyond politics, and beyond the “positions” taken by various interest groups in American society.

Rather than seeking to divide America for political gain, as George W. Bush has done and as the republicans tried to do during the time of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama seeks to unite America in a sense of hope and possibility for actually confronting the nation’s challenges and the world’s problems.

A man does not become editor of the Harvard Law Review without being extremely intelligent and committed to the rule of law.

A man cannot win endorsements from both the Chicago Tribune (the first democrat EVER to be so endorsed) AND the New York Times unless he speaks to a broad range of Americans who pay attention to the issues facing our country.

Barack’s education views have the support of me and pretty much every educational professional I know and respect. He knows how to pick his advisors on this and other issues. And he realizes how important public education is for the future.

As Colin Powell said the other day when he endorsed Obama, “Experience is helpful, but it is judgment that matters.”


I have taken the time to write this letter to you because I want the best possible future for my children, and for your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

My children (and all the other kids we know and love) deserve a decision in this election that puts their interests first. Not yours, not mine. Theirs.

If you cannot agree with any of what I’ve written, I would be happy to discuss these issues with you further, either via email or phone. I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months to get to know the issues, and the facts, and the candidates, and would be glad to share what I’ve learned.

No matter what you decide, do vote. There will be more Americans voting in this election than ever before in our history, and your participation is critical.

With love and respect,


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