I didn't know anything about Barack Obama before the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It was an exciting convention, filled with great speeches by people I knew and supported - but this young man I knew nothing about delivered a keynote speech that made me sorry I was the only person in the house because some things are just too exciting to do alone.
I watched the replay with my daughter later that night. We agreed - this man would be president one day.
Since then, we have learned more about the man behind the motivational speech and solidified our initial reactions. We both believe Barack Obama is an intelligent, well-intentioned, principled, caring man and he will be president one day.
Being in the presence of Barack Obama is a had to be there experience. His charisma, serenity, and confidence fill the atmosphere like a healing hug. I enjoy his sense of humor, appreciate that his wisdom defies his youth. And, I am super excited that he danced with Ellen and read a page from her book, proving that presidential candidates don't have to smash beer cans and destroy the English language to prove they are real.
I have argued before that I am not looking for a husband, minister, best friend, or parent, so the "husband, father, regular church goer" ads are wasted on me. Tell me what you plan to do for me as a politician. The surprising bonus with Barack Obama is that when he tells me what he plans to do for my country, I wish everyone had a parent, spouse, and best friend like him.
Senator Obama impresses me in many ways. I end this with two of my favorites:
"Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate." (From his website)
Senator Obama says he wants to get people to recognize themselves in others. I think that is a wonderful goal.