Since I began writing this column nearly three years ago, I have learned so much about the American people, especially those whose opinions differ sharply from my own. Ive learned that they have, like I do, a fierce love of country and an unstated need to be heard and respected. Above all, Ive learned that the American spirit is hopeful, open and fair-minded. In support of this spirit, I hereby declare that I will cast my ballot for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as the next president of the United States.
[IMGCAP(1)]Some will claim Im voting for Obama simply because we share the same skin pigmentation. Wrong. Nothing can be further from the truth. Less than 13 percent of Americans share Obamas African heritage. Like the millions of whites who voted yes to an Obama presidency in the primaries, my support for him is deeper than the color of our skin, shared or otherwise. Like theirs, my vote will be based on his character, integrity, temperament, judgment and ability to lead America at this difficult crossroad.
As Obama noted in his televised address to the nation Wednesday, In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope.
We are in this together, he declared. And we are. As a nation, we will sink or swim, together.
The question in this election, he correctly observed, is not Are you better off than you were four years ago? We know the answer to that. The real question is, Will this country be better off four years from now?
Since announcing his campaign for the presidency, Obama has pointed out, as he did most recently in Canton, Ohio: The change we need isnt just about new programs and policies. Its about a new politics a politics that calls on our better angels instead of encouraging our worst instincts; one that reminds us of the obligations we have to ourselves and one another.
Throughout the marathon Democratic primary, it was Obama who stayed on message and never once used his precious political capital to tear down or demonize his opponents. Sure, he defended his record. A candidate who would allow a false allegation to go unanswered is a candidate destined to lose. But Obama defended himself with facts, not smear tactics.
Here we are on Election Day and undecided voters should ask themselves three simple questions:
Who do you trust to restore the American dream for all and not just for the privileged few?
Who will help secure your childrens future by ensuring they can successfully compete in the global marketplace?
Who will work harder and more effectively to bring the country together?
For myself, the answer to all three questions is Barack Obama.
The governing Bush-McCain philosophy of the past eight years has preached one thing and done another. Republicans promised a balanced budget and delivered the highest deficit in history. They promised jobs and delivered unemployment. They promised reform and delivered scandal. They promised bipartisanship and delivered a nation divided. They promised a strong America and delivered a country weakened both at home and abroad. They promised a more moral America and delivered torture and abuse, apathy, stonewalls to truth, misleading statements posing as facts, and unbridled greed in the financial sector.
I believe Obama would help restore the position of respect and power the United States once held in the world. And I believe he would help restore the foundational underpinnings of the American Dream, placing it within reach again, if not for our children, then for our childrens children.
To those not yet convinced of Obamas integrity and sincerity, I wholeheartedly assure you that he will honor his words. And he will, upon my honor, welcome you. Your best interests are protected in his plans for the future. Come with us. Though you may be wary and weary in heart from eight years of hearing one thing promised and seeing the other delivered, it is time and it will be safe for us to once again stand together as a nation and have faith in one another.
We will not be able to return to the core values that helped make us a great nation by returning to power those who had it in their power to deliver and did not. The best road to reform is to rebuke those who have failed to deliver it. We must have the guts to send them packing. When and where appropriate, send a message today: You failed us; youre fired.
America will lead the way in this still young century. The train leaves the station today. Come aboard and make the change you seek.
We all crave a new beginning, a fresh start, reform with results, less partisanship and more leaders who will roll up their sleeves and work together. We all hunger for new direction and a transforming president.
Obama is that leader. And if he doesnt deliver, I will be the first in line to tell him goodbye in 2012.
Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in 2000, runs her own grass-roots political consulting firm.