"So, who are you voting for?" they all want to know.
This non-American 'They,' for the most part, are greatly in support of Obama, and it's easy to see why: Obama is far and away the more telegenic of the two main-party candidates, and this is usually the primary basis of a person's opinion on US politics when they lack a keen grasp of the issues at stake in domestic American affairs. They wait in anticipation for my reply, all the while assuming that, come the first Tuesday in November, I'll be voting for Obama. Were I to make such a pledge, I'd be immediately and roundly congratulated for being such a broadminded citizen of the world, for seeing the international light and helping humanity to take a great stride toward perfection.
Inevitably comes the question and, inevitably, I disappoint those around me. I'm resigned to the the reality that one of these two men, McCain or Obama, will be the next president, but I'm not resigned to happiness at the prospect. I may vote for one of them, or I may do something drastic - go all third party, say, and vote for Bob "Borat's Cheese" Barr, or perhaps I'll just write in Brandon Roy's name and take solace in the fact that he's the best leader the Portland Trailblazers have had in a generation.
Where McCain and Obama are concerned, I have reached the following roadblock on my path to a decision:
- The Republican Party has so damaged everything it's touched over this decade that I have a hard time justifying a vote for McCain. He may or may not be an effective president, but his party is clearly in need of a time-out, as my sister would say to my three year-old niece in a moment of misbehavior. One point for Obama.
- The Democrats look poised to gain a commanding majority in the next Congress and, in the interest of a healthy system of checks-and-balances, I prefer that the executive and legislative branches of American government not be controlled by the same party. One point for McCain.
All of which leaves me with a quandary, and so perhaps I'll end up taking that modern, very American path: avoid making the tough decision and just pass it off to someone else. In the event, I might even stand to make a small profit, which also happens to be a very American thing to do.