[Edited to add: Yay! I fixed the comments! My apologies to all of you who have tried unsuccessfully to comment since last night. Please try again.]
I am prolife.
I am a veteran.
I am a homeschooler.
And I am voting for Barack Obama.
In other words, hardly any of my friends are talking to me right now, save for last-ditch attempts to make me see reason. But I'm listening to other people right now. General Colin Powell, for instance; and The Economist. So, if you want to know why I am voting for a babykilling alleged socialist, please click on those 2 links. They say it much better than I can. (If you are too busy to click on both, read the second one.)
I am also listening to my heart, a heart sick of politicians capitalizing on the blue/red divide in this great country of ours. I'm purple, folks; solid purple. There are many others out there like me, and it is time that we make our voices heard. We want someone who, after winning a close presidential race, will not stand up there and say that he has a mandate (I'm looking at you, President George W. Bush). We want someone who will acknowledge that almost half the people didn't vote for him and who will pledge to seek compromise on the issues near and dear to all of us. Our country has been held hostage by extremists on either end for long enough.
In addition, our military is being held hostage in Iraq, while it is needed elsewhere. Pinned down between warring factions of a society rent by civil disorder, it is being drained of its ability to defend us from new threats which are emerging worldwide. The surge has "worked" not by reconciling these divisions, but by capitalizing on them. It was a wise strategy on General Petraeus' part, good for a short-term solution to escalating violence; but it brings us no closer to the stable pan-Iraqi government we claim as our ultimate goal. Senator Obama is not afraid to state this distasteful truth.
I voted for Senator McCain back in the 2000 primaries. I believe that if he had won that election, our country would be far better off than it is today. But my faith in him is shaken, because Senator McCain's campaign is being held hostage by the far right wing of the Republican party; and we have no assurances that the same would not happen to a McCain presidency. And should something, heaven forbid, happen to him while he is in office, we would be left with a president who is fairly identical to President George W. Bush. The neoconservatives would move right back in to advise Ms. Palin, putting our country at risk once again of a reckless foreign policy and a disregard for important domestic issues.
We prolife centrists have been held hostage by the prolife movement's insistence on a legislative solution to the abortion problem for the last 35 years or so. Women deserve better than abortion, and they deserve a prolife movement that will spend its resources (time, money, talent) on providing them with an alternative rather than on protracted legal wranglings and abortion clinic prayer vigils. A legislative solution to the abortion problem is a chimera - I don't believe abortion will ever be illegal again in the U.S., and (unfortunately) the hard-liners on the left are dead set against any reasonable legal restrictions. Prayer vigils are counterproductive - being raised outside the pro-life community, I am more aware than most in the movement how they do nothing but alienate the people we most want to help.
We need to give these women real help - medical care, a living wage, affordable housing - so that they are not scared to bring children into this world. Some of this help can be brought about by the stated domestic policies of the Democratic candidate. We also need to open even more crisis pregnancy clinics and pour our money and efforts into those. What we don't need is to pin all our hopes (and the future of our country) on voting for a candidate simply because he/she is pro-life.
No candidate is perfect. I am choosing the candidate who is most willing to look for that common ground which unites us as Americans and to build from that. I am choosing the candidate who, while left of center, is still closer to the center than his opponent. I am choosing the candidate who wants to be President of all of the US, not half of it.
Hello? Anyone still here?
Sigh. It's lonely at the center...