It’s taken me a long time to decide on this, but I do think Obama is now our best bet and I intend to support him and, hopefully, to vote for him come 2008. I still like John Edwards but I don’t think he can win. A part of me was hoping Al Gore would slip into the race, but that seems increasingly unlikely. I’ll vote for Hillary if I have to, but my heart won’t be in it. (My heart will be in expunging the Republicans, not in electing Hillary.)
I can vote for Obama, however, with enthusiasm. I think he’s the kind of person who would fulfill a deep need in Americans’ souls for a moral, commanding leader, someone who can resurrect our battered reputation and recapture the respect America once enjoyed. Someone who can actually lead.
The ability to communicate ideas to the masses and inspire them is probably a president’s most important quality, which is why the presidents we remember most were those skilled in rhetoric – JFK, Lincoln, FDR, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, for example. A president is, in effect, a super-lobbyist above all else, and the ability to sell ideas and move the people to take action or accept sacrifice or consider new ideas – that’s what the president is there for. And in this regard, Obama is simply unsurpassed (though Edwards ranks a not-so-distant second). Of course, a silver tongue alone does not a perfect candidate make. But I am in tune with Obama’s perspective on many issues, like religion and healthcare and the responsibility of a government to its citizens and, yes, China. And Taiwan. And no, I don’t have the time or energy to detail what these positions are, but you can read his position paper on China here. I know it won’t please everyone, but it’s rational and clear-headed.
Finally, I donated money to the Obama campaign earlier today, and I hope others of you in China and elsewhere will do the same. Time to win the country back after all these agonizing years. Time to elect a real person back into the White House. Time to become a real country again.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.