When Senator John Edwards suspended his campaign last week I had my ballot ready to go, with Edwards marked as my choice for President. Having been a delegate for Senator Edwards to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, to say the least I was disappointed by the SenatorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decision. I sent it in anyway and have urged those who did not want to make a second choice to cast their vote for Edwards like I have.
Numerous friends and commenterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on this blog have suggested that a vote for Edwards is a wasted vote.Ã‚Â While I disagree, I understand their position. Additionally, with the Democratic Nomination for President possibly hanging in the balance due to 22 states selecting delegates on Tuesday, the stakes are a little too high to simply stand on principle and expect that everyone else should, or would, follow my lead.
With additional reflection and a bit of intense lobbying from both sides, I have decided that while my vote went for Edwards, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Endorsing Barack Obama for President.
Early Friday morning I joined Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) political advisor to Senator Edwards Eric Stern, legendary gay rights activist David Mixner, and 23 fellow Edwards for President LGBT Steering Committee Members in enthusiastically endorsing Barack Obama for President.
While both are excellent candidates, I firmly believe that Barack Obama has the appeal to reach across partisan and non-partisan lines to return the Presidency of The United States of America to Democratic control.Ã‚Â I am swayed, by the inspiration and hope that Senator Barack Obama brings to this contest. I am confident that he will bring not only change, but real leadership to the White House.
Below is the announcement from Eric Stern which I believe eloquently states the importance of this choice and the reasons for his, and my endorsement of Barack Obama.
After working as a Political Advisor to Senator John Edwards for the last 13 months, I was disappointed with his recent departure as a Presidential candidate.Ã‚Â Changing candidates is never an easy decision.Ã‚Â
But, on Tuesday, February 5th, millions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and allied voters (like you) will have a historic opportunity to choose the Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party.Ã‚Â Because the stakes are so high and the time for change cannot wait, I, along with legendary gay rights activist David Mixner and 24 of our fellow Edwards for President LGBT Steering Committee Members have decided to enthusiastically endorse Barack Obama for President.
We believe that Obama will be able to more effectively reform the broken system in Washington, DC because he, like John Edwards, has not accepted money from special interest groups.Ã‚Â Obama’s opposition to the war and vision for America will also allow him as our nominee to present a clear choice to voters trying to decide between hope (Obama) and fear (McCain).
I also believe Obama has articulated and begun to demonstrate the clearest vision for making progress on issues of importance to the LGBT community.Ã‚Â I shared the same concerns many had when I heard about the inclusion of individuals in a Obama fundraising event who had a history of making anti-gay remarks.Ã‚Â However, I gained a great deal of respect for the candidate and the campaign in watching how they responded.Ã‚Â This incident I believe actually accelerated both the campaign and the candidate’s learning curve on LGBT issues.Ã‚Â In directly acknowledging and addressing the concerns of the LGBT community, Obama’s personal response demonstrated a recognition that he needed to immediately and aggressively make his commitment to achieving progress on LGBT issues crystal clear.Ã‚Â Obama could have ignored this opportunity based on the premise many past and present Democratic candidates have takenÃ¢â‚¬â€that LGBT voters have nowhere to go and will vote Democratic anyway.Ã‚Â Instead, he seized the opportunity and engaged in massive personal outreach (rather than simply letting his campaign speak for him)—immediately interviewing with The Advocate and posting a blog on The Bilerco Project in which he laid out the MOST specific plan of any of the candidates for achieving progress on issues of importance to the LGBT community.
And since that time, Obama has been the candidate who has spoken the most significantly about the need for progress on LGBT equality while campaigning before mainstream audiences in the early states (IA, NH, SC, NV), in African-American churches, and more recently when accepting the endorsement of gay rights legend Ted Kennedy.
On Tuesday, February 5th, millions of LGBT and allied individuals will have the opportunity to make history.Ã‚Â I will be voting on Tuesday here in California for Obama because I believe he is the candidate who will continue John Edwards’ mission to ensure that the American dream is available to EVERYONE.Ã‚Â I hope you will consider joining me on this historic journey and voting for Obama on Tuesday, or when your state votes or in the general election.
Let’s restore the American dream for everyone–one vote at a time.Ã‚Â Change starts now.
All my best for a great 2008,
But this post is not just about the LGBT community breaking in strong support for Barack Obama.Ã‚Â It is about the hope that Senator Obama brings to any American who has faced discrimination, bigotry, or hatred.Ã‚Â It is about the real choice we have to stand with hope for the future, or with acceptance of more of the same in Washington, D.C.
February 5thÃ‚Â is about choosing a Presidential nominee based upon who we believe can do the best job, not who’s turn it is.Ã‚Â We made that mistake in 2004, let’s not do the same thing again.