14 November 2007

 

Obama 2008

Photo of Barack Obama

Election day is less than a year away. Time to settle in on a candidate.

I'm going with Obama.

I love the Clintons. I think the world of the Clintons. I've had enough of the Clintons. The last thing we need is a rerun of the '90s, with 50.01% (or less) elections and the Republican's pretty hate machines spewing vitriol against the new President every day. Mrs. Clinton is a great individual, someone I respect a lot, but her and her husband's style of politics is played. It's not that different from politics as played by the Bushies. And there's the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton angle. Not something I really care to see in the history books of 2083.

I like John Edwards. I supported him for the nomination in 2004. But, on deeper reflection, let's get real: He has no constituency in either the nation at large, among the political class in DC, or among the press. I'm afraid an Edwards presidency would be like Jimmy Carter's presidency: feel good for its moral superiority but almost completely ineffectual in terms of actual accomplishments.

I thought Bill Richardson might work out. The "no Senator has been elected since JFK" argument has something to it (although LBJ was a Senator prior to his serving as Vice President, and RFK, a Senator when he was assassinated, could likely have won the Presidency). But Richardson has provided, to this point, no compelling reason for his being President. He shares Edward's lack of constituency.

Dodd and Biden are both sharp, thoughtful, guys, but not Presidential.

Obama is something different. While he has some of the constituency problems that Edwards and Richardson have, at least he is building a constituency. The very nature of his candidacy is of being for something, and should he win the Presidency, he will have built a pool of good will and political capital on which to draw. (That could happen for Edwards, but the current approaches he's taking don't have that quality. To me at least.)

Obama brings the quality of actually listening to others, of encouraging the participation of those you thoughtfully disagree with (see Donnie McClurkin), of listening to those you thoughtfully disagree with. I'm sure some of my colleagues on the LGBT-side of the universe will have a difficult time accepting that you have to treat those who don't treat you like a human being like a human being, that you have to listen if you expect to be listened to, but everything in my heart tells me that Obama is right about this.

Not just a place at the table, but a table at which all are truly welcome, even those you disagree with.

So, I've made my choice, and I'm going to actively support Obama.

Of course, I'll gladgly support the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States of America. Mrs. Clinton, John Edwards. Dennis Kucinich, should events transpire. But I believe that Obama is the best candidate, the candidate who can take all the shit that the Republicans will throw without having to throw it back, the candidate who can change the process and the tone, making it possible to achieve more of the content of the discussion.

If you fall back on the old, "a black guy can't get elected," then you need to identify in your mind five people who wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black and call them on it. Let them know your thinking that thinking that way is unacceptable and inappropriate. It's not politically incorrect: It's uncivilized. It's unAmerican. It's brain damaged. It's cutting off your nose to spite your face. It's guaranteeing that you won't consider some good fraction of the alternatives, when the best result is only as good as your best alternative. It's refusing to treat individuals like individuals, which, when it comes down to it, is all that each and every one of us is.

While we have to be confident in the individual for whom we cast our vote, we can't ignore the historical context with any of Richardson (Latino), Mrs. Clinton (XX person), or Obama (black but mixed, non-traditional cultural background). Given all we've been through regarding each of those populations, it seems to me most appropriate that we should address the not just non-white but basically black before non-male or non-Anglo. We all know there will be a woman President some day, a Latino President someday, but we still need convincing that someone who is black can be President.

This is the time to convince ourselves. This is the time to put so many bugaboos of the last 231, 220, 107 years behind us and get around to ignoring race. To make that happen, we have to pay attention to race. Deal with it.

Obama might be today's Abraham, today's Martin, today's John.

Hope is audacious.

Keep hope alive.

Keep hope alive.

Obama, 2008.

Now.

(Photo on Flickr by An Agent.)

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Comments:
Tim: Glad to have you in the Obama camp. As always you have clearly defined why a choice is made and how the process works. I will forward your remarks on.
Thanks for the link. JIM
 
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