In a moving op-ed piece back in January, Caroline Kennedy wrote:
I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.
I hear you, Caroline. Barack Obama reminds me of my dad, too.
The similarity goes beyond the phenomenal ability these men have to express their ideas in a meaningful way, to reach people, inspire them, motivate them: when I hear Barack Obama speak, I recognize the same deeply passionate intellectual curiosity, the same profound respect for science (it's hard to imagine Obama trying to score political points by disparaging planetariums or fruit fly research), and the same fundamental belief in the deliberate, self-critical humility that drives scientific methodology, what Seed Magazine eloquently describes as "evidence-based decision-making."
My dad wrote:
In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know, that's a really good argument, my position is mistaken," and then they actually change their minds, and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics."
I don't know if anyone has the power to transform American politics to the point that the ideology and egos of those who govern us (on both sides of the aisle) will be checked in favor of getting the best practical results for the most people, but if anyone can do this, it's Barack Obama. He's the kind of leader who listens carefully to all points of view, and despite the smears the opposition has leveled against him, his basic decency shines through, which makes him the best shot we've had at this in a very long time.
I've spent the past few days with friends and family making GOTV calls for the Obama campaign--I've spoken with people in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri--and urged them to vote on Tuesday. Most of those I've spoken with are passionate Obama supporters, male and female, young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian. They've told me how disheartened they've become with the direction of the country over these past eight years, they've told me their personal stories, they've thanked me for volunteering to help get out the vote. This country wants a change for the better. Needs it. I think we have it in Barack Obama.
Whatever your political beliefs are, please brave those long lines and vote tomorrow. It's your government. Make your voice heard.