Sunday, January 27, 2008

yes we can!

Like many Americans, during the lead-up to yesterday's South Carolina Democratic Primary I had become increasingly irritated by the news media's effort to mold yesterday's contest into a race in which the end result was to determined solely by race and gender. You don't know how tired I became listening repeatedly to the news networks and the pundits talk about the significance of the black vote in S.C. as if they were the only people who mattered. There was so much focus on the black vote that it was a rarity to hear about the white vote, which makes up the other half of the S.C. Democratic electorate, or any other constituency. I just wished the news media directed their collective attention to the serious issues at hand, the issues that matter.

Secondly, I also became turned off increasingly by the Clinton machine's (in particular, Bill Clinton and the surrogates of his wife's campaign) injection of divisive, race politics, which I think was displayed most poignantly when the former president tried to portray Obama as the stereotypical, monolithic Afrocentric candidate by suggesting that Obama's victory was akin to Jesse Jackson's win in South Carolina back in both 1984 and 1988. Read/watch here. Why did he have to bring Jesse Jackson into the picture? What was that all about? Firstly, his comparison was wrong and secondly, it was over the top.

I'm supporting Barack Obama not because he's an African-American. That would be way too simplistic and naive let alone an insult to believe that people can't rally behind an individual unless he or she is of their particular "tribe." Regardless of who the president will be, I think he or she will have a challenging time as the country has endured so much distress under the Bush administration. Though I believe there's no perfect candidate who neatly meets my ideas on all the issues, I'm supporting Obama because I think he offers the best chance at:

  1. Igniting a new enthusiasm among our citizenry and getting people involved in the political process who for a long time felt apathetic about Washington and the affairs of our country. (We see evidence of this already with the very high turnout in Iowa and South Carolina)
  2. Strengthening the political process by inviting Independents and Republicans to the table in the hope of bringing different constituencies together and thereafter, be better positioned to pass important legislation that would be impossible with a polarized electorate and Congress. (I fear a Clinton presidency would bring us back to the bitter partisanship of the 90s and lengthen the 20 year long Bush-Clinton hold on executive power in what is supposed to be not be an oligarchy.)
  3. Ending the war in Iraq
  4. Reversing the policies of the Bush administration on a variety of issues
  5. Helping to restore American prestige abroad
  6. Reversing the culture of fear and division
These are just a few of the things that I like about Obama's message. I admit, however, that I wish he was more specific on some key issues. Both Clinton and Edwards seem to present a more detailed, thoughtful presentation of their policies. Hopefully, Obama will become more specific very soon.

Like all his speeches, however, they make you want to believe in government and the collective power of a motivated citizenry once again.

Going forward to Super Duper Tuesday I do think Clinton has the advantage nationally, but as the polls showed us in New Hampshire they aren't always right.

Below are some of the news stories that I have read recently:

U.S. Race Captures World's Eye, and Hold It

Two Presidents Are Worse Than One

A President Like My Father is Caroline Kennedy's endorsement of Obama.

Phone Call Into History

Old-School Economics

Waving Goodbye to Hegemony examines America's new place in a world shared with the powers of the E.U. and China.

Ethnic Violence in Rift Valley Is Tearing Kenya Apart

Egypt Tries to Plug Border; Gazans Poke New Hole

Finally, I found this very interesting 2003 article about Dave Frieder, the bridge photographer about whom I blogged about recently:

He's Climbing the Walls to Climb Bridges Again


Comment Anonymous EFG said...

I COMPLETELY AGREE with you about the political situation. I am SICK of the Clinton's method during the campaign and it has turned me off to them.What a shame!!
I support Obama too even though he may not have the most experience but because we do need major CHANGE in this country.
"YES WE CAN" sums it up.


8:41 AM  
Comment Blogger david said...

I also agree with your very astute assessment of the current political situation. Senator Obama offers our generation, as well as all Americans, the opportunity to turn the page on , arguably, the worst two term president in the history of this nation. I had a very strong feeling that the SC primary was going to end up the way it did, and I was pleased. It is a positive sign to see voters turning away from the negative politics of old. It remains to be seen if it will stay that way. Senator Kennedy said it best when he took a page from Clinton's campaign by saying Obama "will be ready by day one". It was a nice touch and Senator Clinton's mood during the State of the Union said it all.


1:15 AM  

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