Yesterday I was cleaning up my Facebook profile and removing my support for Ron Paul. (You can read this post at another blog for some of my reasoning for supporting and no longer supporting Paul...it wasn't written by me but I don't feel like writing an entire post on the subject and I'm pretty much with the iMonk.) While doing so I noticed a number of people in my friends who had checked that they "support" such people as John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. Such sentiments are very popular these days, as supporting a Republican is generally considered uncool by most people under 40. I am not a Republican myself, and that's not the point of my post. The point is that I think a lot of people "support" Obama or Hillary (more Obama) because it's cool to do so and they think it sounds good, they hear it's a good thing to do and "BUSH = HITLER, NO BLOOD FOR OIL!!!!"
Since I work with students and know a lot of people in their mid-to-late teens, many who are just becoming aware of the political process and the fact that they have a place in it, and since I live in the freakin Bay Area, I am surrounded by people who make goo-goo eyes over someone like Obama. I don't really have any particular issue with Obama other than disagreeing with him on a number of political issues - but I'm not really sure where he stands on some things. I know he wants Universal Health Care (but I don't know the particulars of his plan), I know he's Pro-Choice, I know he's been unfairly made fun of by idiots for the similarity of his name to Bin Laden and Saddam and accused of being a stealth Muslim, I know he thinks "the rich" don't pay their fair share of taxes, I know he's a good speaker...but I don't know much about his positions and how they would differentiate him from Edwards, Clinton, or even Giuliani (except for his position on Iraq). What bugs me is there are so many people who support Obama (or any other policitican) who don't know crap about him. They see him as this cool savior for mankind who talks about hope and change but they don't know what he means by that or how he wants to make it happen.
Most of the time when someone makes a comment on how they love this or that politician I ask them "why do you support that person?" Lately that comment has been directed towards people who express love for Obama or Hillary (Edwards isn't chic). I've gotten a very short list of replies. They are:
(1) He isn't George Bush.
Few things bug me more than people just falling in line with something or someone they think is cool or good or whatever, with no good reason. In my work at Crossroads I have always tried to tell people they need to think through what they believe and why they believe it. People are too willing to blindly follow the crowd without engaging in any critical thinking. It makes them feel cool and progressive and like they're doing something to ride on the coattails of some popular politician and maybe they'll even vote for him/her but they really have no idea what they're doing. I'm sure there are Obama supporters out there who like him for legitimate reasons...I just haven't met one and am not sure I even know one. But I know a lot of Obama "supporters."