I’ve met President Obama twice, and both times he gave me a hug, not a handshake. Maybe that’s not a good enough reason to vote for him but it sure makes me trust him more. This past spring my high school football team beat Obama’s high school football team for the Hawai’i state championship. That’s definitely not a good reason to vote for him, that’s just me bragging that we are from the same state. I’m lucky enough to still live here in Hawai’i where the sunsets are beautiful, but they are not black and white. It’s a complex place, just as the rest of the world around it.
In 2009 the world was no less complex. That January I traveled to Washington DC to play music at President Obama’s Home State Ball in celebration of his inauguration. It was a historic day, and I felt blessed to be involved. The air outside was freezing but people everywhere, including myself, were warm with a sense of hope. But I also remember hoping that people weren’t letting their hopes become unrealistic. Anyone who was expecting all of our problems to be solved in four years wasn’t paying attention to the depth of the issues or the congressional elections.
Now I find myself patiently hopeful, realizing that sometimes evolution is better than revolution. Although there are several reasons that I will be voting for Obama in 2012, I’ll focus on one. As a father of three I could never consider voting for a candidate that mocks the idea of climate change. I’m voting for the candidate that believes climate change is “no joke” and is a “threat to our children’s future.” I want someone who understands the enormity of the problem and is willing to work toward a solution. In this upcoming election I will be voting for President Obama not only for his pledged support of renewable energy in the future, but also for the work that he has already done.
Mitt Romney has said, “I’m not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet.” Well I love surfing in those oceans and I want my kids and their kids to be able to do the same. President Obama is a body surfer, which in Hawaii actually does count as one more reason to vote for him. He has a profound respect for nature and an understanding of the work that we need to do to keep it in balance. It’s nice to think that one of the most influential men in the world is able to find joy in something as simple as riding waves. I hope that one day we have a chance to surf together, but not in the near future. I’m hoping he’ll be too busy for the next four years.
Jack Johnson is a musician and surfer. His most recent album is Jack Johnson & Friends — Best of Kokua Festival which came out earlier this year. This article was reprinted with permission and originally appeared at 90days90reasons.com. Photo courtesy of the talented Chris Orwig.