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September 24, 2008

Why Obama, by Michael Epstein (The Motion Sick)

Why Obama is a series of guest essays by musicians and authors, where they share their support for Democratic United States presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama and offer arguments why he needs to be elected president of the United States.

Michael Epstein is the frontman for the Boston band The Motion Sick. The band released its second album, The truth will catch you, just wait... earlier this year.

In his own words, here is Michael Epstein's Why Obama essay:

For a moment, let us forget about platforms and issues, candidate beliefs and party alignment. We are mostly just being told what we want to hear anyway. Words are selected carefully to include the favorite terms and phrases of the constituency whose vote is most contested each day. Let us ignore the sharp-dressed mud, slung back and forth in a haughty, sloppy tennis match. Mud is mud and it washes off easily at the end of the day. Let us instead think about the real primary impact of the individual chosen to represent our nation. The President of the United States stands before the world and speaks as the voice of three hundred million people. We are a diverse nation with diverse backgrounds and diverse beliefs. No individual could possibly provide a perfect and valid representation of each of us. Instead, we must essentially select our avatar as an embodiment of our nation and not our individuality. This is a careful and collective decision to be made.

I propose Barack Obama as our choice. He is dignified, kind, hard-working, honest, friendly, genuine, and bold. He has achieved the arousal of a sense of hope and advancement for a huge portion of the population. People around the world watch eagerly, hoping that our next leader is not just another series of punchlines. Those who stand behind Obama, most often do so enthusiastically, not just consulting their donkey mug for the sake of the party. Most notably, this kind of enthusiasm has been lacking from the political process for a number of years. Obama's multicultural background celebrates the oft-forgotten great melting pot image of the United States, a land where everyone, regardless of race, gender, or belief is to be given equal opportunity and granted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our nation is still young and sometimes perhaps arrogant. I have a nagging fear that the world sometimes views us as a reckless, spoiled teenager with too many toys, demanding what we want and ignoring the consequences. While we as Americans denounce such a view, it is one of pervasiveness. I often work with international academic visitors. They tell tales of repeated explanations to their friends and family back home that the United States of news and television is not the United States of America. They explain that most of us are not drawling, drooling, war-mongering rhetoricians with a taste for cowboy hats and cheeseburgers. As absurd as this might appear to us, most people back home don't believe them.

If that is how the world views us, we’ve got a long public relations road ahead and we absolutely need to work to repair the damage caused by such an indelible image. Although we may think of ourselves as the ultimate economic and military behemoth, we must remember, The United States is not without flaw or weakness. Our massive deficit, which has been put off for a long time, is likely going to catch up to us. It is not just economic problems in our future. Though maybe most Americans haven't noticed, but the rest of the world is certainly aware of our inability to stabilize the nations now under our military influence.

Our top priority now should be working to gain the support and trust of the rest of the world. Perhaps they will share their current economic and social prosperity and we will not be in danger of losing our place as a world power. To achieve this, right now we need an Ambassador as much as we need a President. Finally, speaking to my own selfish desires, I have long looked forward to a day when I felt no embarrassment as a result of the statements and behavior of our liaison to the rest of the globe. In January, I do hope that day will arrive.

Michael Epstein and The Motion Sick links:

The Motion Sick's website
The Motion Sick's MySpace page
Mike Epstein's Largehearted Boy Note Books essay

Barack Obama links:

Barack Obama presidential campaign website
Books 4 Barack
Barack Rock!

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Why Obama essays
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews