Though I imagine I'm mostly preaching to the choir with this post, I just want to do my own small part to try and sell people on Barack Obama. It's very rare for me to actually get excited about a politician: as a rule, I find them disingenuous and more interested in toeing the party line or garnering campaign contributions than in actually doing the job to which they were elected. American government was devised by some of the greatest minds of the Enlightenment, and it is a triumph of rationalism. However, a rational government only works when the politicians that compose it and the people that are represented by it are also willing to be rational (I would argue that voter ignorance - both on the right and the left - is one of the main reasons the country is in its currently lamentable state, but I'll save that rant for another day; suffice it to say that every American really should read - and understand - the Constitution, as elegant a doctrine on government as has ever been written). As we will all hear in the months between now and next November, the country is at a hugely significant crossroads, and what we need more than anything else is politicians who actually understand the precepts on which this country was founded. I can honestly say that of all the current presidential candidates in both major parties, Barack Obama seems to be the only one who does. His opponents like to claim he lacks experience. The Obama camp often counters that this makes him less beholden to special interests. I think this is true, but I also think that experience is used as an excuse by people who fear the change that Obama represents away from politicians who pander to their base and hedge their bets on difficult issues. There are a number of very thorny, but also very important, issues facing the country, both foreign and domestic, and to approach these with the same dogmatic, divisive attitude that politicians have adopted for the last few decades will almost certainly lead to disaster. I would support Hilary Clinton (her husband, after all, was far and away the best president we've had in my lifetime) or John Edwards (though I am distrustful of populism, which too easily devolves into demagoguery), but the one quality I admire most in a politician is rationality, and Obama has the ability to be a truly great rationalist president in the mold of FDR or Kennedy. That's my two cents, and I hope I've convinced at least a few people out there that Barack Obama is worth taking seriously.
Incidentally, whether or not you support Obama, everyone should check out the video I've appended below of the speech he gave yesterday to Iowa democrats. It is, admittedly, largely devoid of concrete plans, but it is the most stirring political speech I've heard in a very long time.