I was at Game 4 of the World Series in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday and had a chance to reflect on why I am voting for Obama. You may ask, "Is Native obsessed with Obama? Does he eat, drink and sleep Obama? Are the Phillies really the best team in the history of baseball?" These are all valid questions, and the answers are, in order: Maybe a little, Not really, and Quite Likely.
I am not obsessed with Obama but I am with the Phillies. As I walked along the concourse in the second-most balkanized city in America I found myself people-watching. You had your typical Main Line suburbanites in their Phil's jerseys accessorized nicely with a red Kate Spade bag and some really cute Manolo pumps. You had your big-hair Jersey girls. You had your Northeast Irish, Micked-out to the nines with their crew cuts, multiple earrings (on the men) and their IBEW Local 949 tattoo. You had your typical South Philly Guineas, with their flat-brimmed hats with the stickers still on, their too-tight clothes and their gum-smacking girlfriends. You had your West Philly "Democrats" to round out the Philadelphia Proper crowd.
I also saw a Sikh with a Phillies turban (soon to be available at the Majestic Store) and a Hasid in the full topcoat and black regalia with his son and grandson wearing their jerseys.
All of these people who would happily kick the shit out of each other on any given day had come together to celebrate the Phillies and were high-fiving their way through an hour-and-a-half rain delay and some pretty chilly temperatures. I got a little choked up as I tend to believe that this melting pot of peoples and cultures is what sets the US apart from basically all other countries. I believe fervently that this, our diversity paired with our ability to come together to make common cause, is our greatest strength.
Right there may be where you picked up on where I am going with this. You can pooh-pooh the "rhetoric" of Hope and of Obama's "eloquence", and you can call me naive or allege that this is all fluff. I don't particularly care because I think this point is pretty important and is pretty core to who we are, or perhaps, who we should want to be. I think the folks who are discounting Obama's ability to bring us together, much as the Phillies run for their second ever World Series title is bringing together people with some pretty diverse ideas and backgrounds, are either jaded, or something darker, in their outlook.
Again, for those dead-set against an Obama presidency, for whatever reason, vote your conscience. I'll be voting mine and a cold, wet night at Citizens Bank Park reminded me why.