Steamboat Springs I support the candidacy of Barack Obama for president because I see a bright future for the United States. I am troubled that so many in my age group (retired) are fearful that if we let down our guard, some boogeyman will capture our bodies and minds and destroy our way of life. If there is a message in Obama's quest for the presidency, it is that this country is great, its people are great, and we can accomplish anything we set our collective mind to doing.
Rhetoric pervades the airwaves. The candidates make promises on which they cannot deliver. Talking heads pronounce polls that vary widely, day by day, and analyze the tidbits of sensationalism that sell programs, rarely delving into the nuances of policy because they fear (know?) that such discussion will bore 90 percent of their audience. After they get past discussing Obama's blustering pastor, Clinton's "obliterate Iran" or McCain's mix-up of Shia and Sunni, and five minutes of commercials, there is no time for discussing what is really important.
If you want to know where Obama stands, read his book "Audacity of Hope." In it you will find a well-written discussion of his views on values, opportunity, politics, faith, race, family and international relations.
You will find surprising praise for Ronald Reagan (to the consternation of many liberals): "Still, the conservative revolution that Reagan helped usher in gained traction because Reagan's central insight - that the liberal welfare state had grown complacent and overly bureaucratic - contained a good deal of truth."
And tribute to Obama and a prescient comment from George W. Bush: "You've got a bright future, but I've been in this town awhile, and let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunning for ya. And it won't just be coming from my side. : Everybody'll be waiting for you to slip."
To say that Obama's religious background is eclectic would be an understatement. His mother exposed him to Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and Shintoism. His father was born a Muslim but was an atheist - neither belief probably had an effect since his father left when Obama was 4.
Living in Indonesia, he attended a Catholic school and a madrass, a Muslim school. His mother studied religion from the detached view of an anthropologist. His grandparents, who probably had the most impact on him as a youth, are probably best described as skeptics.
Obama describes his own coming to faith best in his earlier book, "Dreams From My Father." In summary, as a community organizer for churches on the South Side of Chicago, he came to terms with faith. He attributes his epiphany to understanding his mother's loneliness during her final months and concluded that it arose from her lack of faith and the spiritual healing he observed then accepted within the church community in which he worked.
Obama presents in his writings and his oral presentations one of the most positive views held by an American politician. He has an abiding faith in what this country can accomplish and a sincere regret for the divisiveness that has grown during the past three decades.