Obama accepting nomination at Democratic National Convention. Photo by RaveDelay, Courtesy of Flickr.
I left my Maryland voting booth Tuesday morning still surprised by the man’s name I had just checked…no way this long-time Libertarian had just cast a ballot for a Democratic presidential candidate.
My about-face, though, was not all the sudden. It began in January when I was forced to write in my personal blog that Barack Obama had just delivered a speech so good it that made me forget how much I disagree with him about. He captured my attention that night in Iowa because he spoke not in bombastic political rhetoric designed to score cheap points but in a voice of reason. He staked his candidacy on the ideas that voters deserved to engage in serious conversation and that he would sit down at the table with us to make the discourse a two-way experience.
No other Democrat or Republican had the capacity or desire to reach me the way Obama did. The candidate who matured before my TV-watching eyes got me to listen — a precursor to opening my mind to the possibility I may be wrong about some of my own views and beliefs.
I tried brushing it off each time it happened but the experience occurred with such frequency that I found myself making small donations as a way of wishing him well. Then I started buying his books and allowing neighbors to put signs in my yard. A few weeks before election day, I realized that I still disagreed with him on a great many issues but that we did share some common ground — enough of such real estate that I chose to pay him the highest possible honor I could: asking him to lead my country.
Obama’s impact on my life does not end this week. The better angels he appeals to are forcing me to ask myself what I can do to be a better man and a better patriot. I wonder if you, our respected and highly treasured supporters, are also learning life lessons from our president-elect that you might share with me.