Halfway, Pleased

Yes it's the title of my new album, and consequently shameless self-promotion, but it certainly sums up the way I feel today. As a proud supporter of Barack Obama I'm pleased and relieved that the primary fight is nearly over and we can move on to the real issues of a fall campaign.

To give you some background, I have lived legally and paid taxes in the US for close to twenty years now but have just last year become a naturalized citizen. I now have a vote and I intend to use it.

Voting in a democracy is the time in each political cycle, local or national, where every person's voice carries the same weight. My one vote counts just as much as George Bush's one vote. It's the one single thing that makes the US a democracy.

That having been said, I'd like to share the reasoning behind my support of Senator Obama.

Firstly, there is nothing more dull and predictable than "politics as usual." Call me crazy, but I have a real desire to vote FOR someone -- let me explain:

Most voting is done on the basis of a desire to rid the country of a current government or to make sure someone else doesn't get elected because you like the current government -- it's called tactical voting. A sure sign of this would be the barrage of negative ads decrying the opposition and a distinct lack of ads extolling the virtues and reasons you should vote FOR someone.

(A side note to Howard Dean -- I'm not enjoying the DNC ones either, but I'll let it slide for now as we don't officially have a candidate yet.)

Personally I am grateful to Senator Obama for giving me the opportunity to vote FOR someone. Someone who doesn't stand for politics as usual.Someone who, more importantly, inspires young voters to vote. Make no mistake, we are voting for our futures and the futures of our children, and I for one think that they should have a say.

Initially I, like many others, presumed that Hillary Clinton would be the pragmatic choice. I was charmed by the Clinton name and the desire to return to the Bill Clinton era. I'm happy to say that I'm no longer charmed or looking for a return to the past: I'm inspired and looking to a brighter future for our children and for America's image in the world.

I have decided to vote FOR someone who sees Iraq for what it truly is -- an oil and land grab with an ill-conceived odor of empire building. A candidate who realizes that the only people benefiting are the oil companies and defense contractors, and we know where their allegiances lie. A candidate who shuns the fallacy of "trickle down economics" with the knowledge that it so seldom "trickles down" to anyone. Who will point to the record-breaking profits of oil companies yet the spiraling price of gas as an example, and refuse to placate you with an election cycle band-aid when major surgery is required.

I'm voting FOR someone who is willing to sit down with friends and "enemies" alike. Someone who grasps the analogy that whilst keeping a large gun in your house is a deterrent, killing people who are not on your property is a crime.

I've listened with amusement to the "electability" argument. The person with the most votes wins that argument by the mere fact that they were elected. We are currently in the primary and Senator Obama is winning handily under these rules against a political dynasty. Come the general election a different set of rules are in place and I'm sure Senator Obama will change his game a little to allow for that. I have the utmost confidence he will run another well thought out and professional campaign.

I'm sure that race, age and gender will all play an unfortunate part in the upcoming election. I can only encourage people to remember that labels by their very nature are intended to categorize and therefore divide us.

I myself am a "latte sipping, Volvo driving, bleeding-heart liberal" (which I find particularly insulting as I only drink Pasquini coffee and drive a Mini Clubman), and an "out of touch elitist" due to the fact that, despite coming from a poor working class family, I dared to get an education. Because of this I am particularly wary of very wealthy privileged people claiming to "empathize." It's "something I'm working on" as they like to say here in Los Angeles.

So don't buy into it. We may all come from different backgrounds, live in vastly different surroundings, belong to different congregations, but in the end we all carry a small blue book that says "Passport - United States Of America" which on the opening page has a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

"..and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

I intend to vote, and I encourage you to do the same.

Curt Smith is a musician, singer and songwriter, who co-founded the group Tears for Fears. A 10-year Los Angeles resident, Smith will release his second solo album, "Halfway, pleased" via his own KOOK Media imprint on May 20.