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America is about to make a Presidential choice which will send shock waves throughout the country, and the world.

Barack Obama is a once-in-a-generation leader. His potential is grand, not just because of the transcendent nature of his race, but because of his intellect, judgment, and temperament.

Robert F. Kennedy was the first Presidential candidate to spark my interest in politics. Growing up in Massachusetts, the Kennedys were our royal family, but Bobby managed to break from that elitist image. He became a champion of the poor, campaigning tirelessly in shattered neighborhoods, and was the last best hope for ending the war in Vietnam.

When Bobby was murdered, following shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the country entered a downward spiral of violence that seemed to be endless. Political conventions in Chicago and Miami were the bloodiest in our history, and amidst all the chaos arose Richard Nixon, who singlehandedly altered public perceptions of our leaders, to the point of such extreme cynicism that we have quietly accepted the crimes and failures of George W. Bush as simply being part of the job.

Forty years have no passed since Nixon assumed the Presidency and escalated the Vietnam War, sparking riots in the street, and deaths on college campuses. It wasn't just Watergate that brought Nixon down, it was his vision of himself as an Imperial President, immune from the law no matter what the crime. In many ways it is the Bush and Cheney regime which has attempted to renew Nixon's vision by trying to wash away the progressive ideas of the 1960s and turn the office of President of the United States into a unilateral power, rendering the other two branches of government virtually impotent to stand in its way.

Barack Obama represents the end of the neocon conservative reign over America. I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, the only time I have ever voted for a Republican President, and while he proved to be one of our best Presidents of the last half century, his last term was spent in the first fog of Alzheimer's disease, leaving the nuts and bolts of running the country to others who took his tough conservative message and turned it into a quest for power.

The Lee Atwater and Karl Rove brand of scorched earth divide and conquer politics all comes from the Nixon era, where dirty tricks and enemy lists were the modus operandi. Bill Clinton's eight years will ultimately be looked at as part of this neocon era, because even though he was a Democrat, it was the Newt Gingrich House which defined public policy and drove the political agenda. Let's face it, had not Ross Perot run in 1992, George H. W. Bush would have been re-elected.

Yes, Barack Obama is a skilled and ruthless politician, otherwise he never could have thrown a roadblock in front of the Clinton machine, and out-campaigned a U. S. Senator with three decades of experience. It's not just Hope and Vision that has put Obama into the position of becoming President - it's organization and money, the likes of which have no parallel in our history.

What's most remarkable about Obama's run is that the momentum has all come from him. Hillary Clinton had most of the support from the Democratic Party, not because they particularly opposed Obama, but because the perception was that it was her moment. It all came down to the Iowa Caucuses, where Obama's ground game and organization seemed to come from nowhere.

It took the Democrats a long time to come together around Obama. If you want to talk about a "maverick", this is the guy, because he went against all odds to rise to the top. A true maverick never refers to himself as being one.

They've done everything they can to stop this guy. You know all the arguments, and none of them stick. The truth is that Barack Obama is the great American story, born to immigrants, of mixed-race decent, raised by a single mother, and then by a white grandmother, with roots in the American heartland as well as Kenya and Hawaii, eventually rising to be the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, and then turning down millions by becoming a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. His rise to power might seem at first to be swift, but the truth is that he has been rising above adversity his entire life.

But after all the campaigning, after all the punditry, and after all the voting, Barack Obama will have to get to work healing a country which has lost its way. The danger he faces immediately will be how to handle too much power, since it is likely that he will have party majorities in the House and the Senate. I think he has the smarts not to overreach, that he has the heart and the mind to do what's best for America, and not just what's right politically.

So history is about to be made, a moment that I have been waiting for nearly all my life. I've never been looking for a handout, or an entitlement, I just want to see a leveled playing field. I want to see a middle class where a single paycheck can pay the bills. I want to see affordable healthcare for all without pre-existing conditions or other insurance company roadblocks. I want to see a green economy where solar and wind power begin to reduce or dependency on foreign oil. I want to see young Americans in public service to their country rewarded with an affordable college education. And I want America to be able to get out Iraq as soon as possible and begin healing our country's image around the world.

Barack Obama has said that his top three priorities for America are the financial crisis, the energy crisis, and the healthcare crisis. I think he is right. Easing the credit crunch and helping homeowners to avoid foreclosure will stop the bleeding, dealing with energy will create new industries, new cars, new products and new jobs, and solving healthcare will remove a financial and psychological burden from millions of Americans who will then be able to focus on being productive instead of being sick and bankrupt.

This is the Hope of Barack Obama, that we can all begin being one country, not a blue America, not a red America, but the United States of America.
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