Today, I am announcing my endorsement of Barack Obama for president.
This wasn’t an easy decision for me. Democrats were blessed this year with many talented and capable candidates, and I believe both Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., would make fine presidents. But Sen. Obama’s proven judgment, his hopeful vision for America, and his unmatched ability to motivate millions of Americans eager for change made the choice for me.
I have enormous respect for Sen. Clinton. She is smart, dedicated and a champion of those often underserved and forgotten. She has a remarkable record of achievement that inspires us all. And her election would fulfill a lifelong dream for so many of us who have been fighting for women’s rights. She would make a great president.
But for me, Barack Obama is the best choice.
There are a number of reasons I could cite. He has promoted smart policies to address our nation’s greatest challenges. He was right on Iraq when so many were wrong. He speaks with an eloquence that most public officials can only dream of, and is inspiring millions of Americans to reconnect with politics or connect for the first time. And he can win in November.
These are all true and good reasons, but I also believe Barack Obama is the better choice because of something larger and perhaps more important. Simply put, he has made a call to the better angels of our nature. He is challenging us to lift ourselves out of the ugliness that increasingly consumes Washington, where the heat of your argument counts for more than the light it should bring. He is asking us to stand together as Americans and transcend the traditional lines that have so often divided us by party affiliation, economic status, gender or race.
He is calling on us to rethink our approach to problem solving in the face of the enormous challenges facing our country, like Iraq, economic recession, global warming, record energy prices, and 47 million Americans without health insurance, to name just a few. I believe in his effort to put our country on a new path and want to help him make that happen.
I came to Washington 10 years ago after winning the seat my late husband, Walter, held. In office for a mere 10 months before he died, he had lost none of the idealism and faith in American democracy that propelled his life. Quite frankly, I don’t believe he ever would have, and I know that I have tried to keep that fire burning. But I’ll admit it’s hard, when so much of what’s going on around you is less about meeting our country’s challenges and more about demonizing your political opponents.
Walter once said that “we are strongest as people when we are directed by that which unites us, rather than giving into the fears, suspicions, innuendos and paranoias that divide.” For years I have been waiting for a president who speaks to that vision. I believe Barack Obama may very well be that rare leader.
— Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, represents the 23rd Congressional District.