Fired up and ready to go
On Tuesday, Hawaii residents will have the opportunity to select the Democratic candidate who might very well become the next president of the United States of America.
In caucuses held throughout our community, Democrats will gather to cast their votes. Because of the closeness of the race, our votes could play a decisive role in determining the final nationwide outcome.
My vote will be going to Sen. Barack Obama.
While Sen. Hilary Clinton is certainly qualified and would make a good president, America needs more than good.
Both candidates are U.S. senators and both possess the experience and qualifications needed to lead our country, but we need much more than that.
We need good judgment, we need hope and we need inspiration. Obama delivers all three by the bucket-load.
Obama is a thoughtful man of character and integrity, whose judgment calls have consistently stood up to scrutiny. His opposition to the war in Iraq came early. In 2002 he voiced strong concerns about the direction the Bush/Cheney doctrine was taking our country and accurately predicted the disaster that has arisen as a result of our policies in Iraq and elsewhere. His strong no-nonsense position of following known terrorists into their warrens wherever that might lead is balanced with his willingness to enter into diplomatic efforts with all world leaders, both our friends and our enemies.
Obama by his very existence in the race for the presidency proves that the hope of the American dream is still alive and very real. A self-described "skinny kid with a funny name," he is living proof that you do not have to be a "good ole boy" to succeed, you do not need to be a member of the power elite and maybe, just maybe the playing field is indeed one that each of us can play on equally, without fear or prejudice.
The candidacy of Obama has inspired our nation unlike any other, at least during my lifetime. A young bank teller recently told me that though previously she had been oblivious to the workings of government and politics, she now felt compelled to get involved. Another young person told me her friend, a college student, was so enthralled by the candidate he often fell asleep late at night "while listening to podcasts of Obama's speeches." My own mother, a 70-something evangelical Christian and resident of Georgia, is ecstatic about the possibility of Obama becoming the next president.
Our country desperately needs what Obama brings to the table -- we need his balanced and thoughtful judgment, we need the hope, the focus and the relentless determination to find solutions to the many challenges that face our nation and the world. But perhaps most of all, we need the inspiration. Americans need to be revitalized and reinvigorated so that all of us once again believe in our system of government, believe in the American dream and believe deep within our hearts that, working together, we can indeed make the world a better place.
I urge each and every member of our community to show up Tuesday and vote for the Democratic candidate whom you feel will make the best president. All that is required is that you will be eligible to vote in the November elections. You can register to vote and register to become a Democrat at the caucus location itself. For more information visit www.hawaiidemocrats.org, www.hawaiiforobama.org or www.hillaryclinton.com/hq/Hawaii/
Gary Hooser (D, Kauai-Niihau) is the state Senate majority leader.