OK, so here it goes.
I voted for Barack Obama, but I'm not an Obama supporter.
Let me explain.
Yes, I voted for the Democrat this time around, but it wasn't out of some passionate, enthusiastic, messianic motivation. But it also wasn't a protest vote against John McCain as an individual candidate or leader.
I've had a peculiarly high interest from friends (especially on Facebook) on my voting plans this year. Maybe some people really care. I think others are just bored or bizarrely curious. I've held off from writing about it because I don't really feel it's appropriate to share that kind of info when serving on a church staff. It's too easy for people to confuse Rob the Voter with Rob the Pastor (who are both different from Joe the Plumber).
In any case, I know that I won't affect anyone's vote by discussing how I voted for president. And if it does, well, you probably need to do more research and analysis on your own, instead of using me as a guide.
These are some of the main reasons I made my decision for president. I will not attempt to pre-battle any of my more conservative friends, some of whom will berate me for my choice. But here are the highlights:
George W. Bush has been a horrible president. Our international reputation and influence have been diminished, largely because of military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Going into Iraq was a mistake, even if Bush will never admit it. When it comes to domestic issues, Bush has failed to live out his self-described "compassionate conservative" agenda. I'm no historian, and I don't even pretend to play one on TV, but I doubt Bush will be viewed too highly down the road. And I don't buy the argument that John McCain is such a maverick that he won't continue many of the Bush failures. So this area shifted me toward Obama.
FAITH FORUM AT SADDLEBACK
I needed to watch this event on TV because I wanted to hear what Obama said in the areas of faith. Yes, I know his answers didn't appease all evangelicals (especially when talking about abortion), but I was impressed. McCain offered a bunch of sound bites and lines that were targeted to evangelicals. Obama proved that he had actually thought through his ideas and opinions. In other words, I'd like a president who demonstrates intellectual capability (more than our current one) and the willingness to speak in nuances and thought-filled sentences (unlike what I heard from McCain).
This is easy. Sarah Palin is not qualified to be vice president (or president) of the United States. Plain and simple. And anyone who'd pick her as a running mate wouldn't get my vote. Joe Biden was a safe choice for Obama, but it wasn't a dumb one.
McCAIN OF 2000 VS McCAIN OF 2008
I liked McCain back in 2000. He was more independent and less bound to the GOP power base -- which is why he lost in the primaries, of course. This year's McCain has sounded too much like a GOP boombox.
THE FEAR ISSUE
Sorry, folks, I'm not going to vote for McCain just because of the fear or threat or danger of what might happen under a President Obama. That just strikes me as a small-minded approach to choosing a president.
THE CHANGE ISSUE
I think it's time for some change in the White House. I don't think Obama is the Messiah and I don't agree with him on every issue. But I just couldn't bring myself to vote for McCain or a third-party candidate. This was not a choice of the "lesser of two evils," but it certainly wasn't a choice of two perfect candidates. Still, I'm willing to take a chance on someone new at 1600 Pennsylvania for the next four years. And I know that many of my friends will disagree, but life will go on for all of us.
And if you'd like a nice biblical view on the election as a whole, without an endorsement or a slam, I'd encourage you to hop over to Mark Miller's website and read what he wrote earlier today.