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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2008 Elections: Barack Obama Speaks!

OK, Hillary Clinton forced us away from our support for her. We struggled throughout to remain neutral in this election struggle, in large part because of our long history of support for Hillary and her husband.

So although Bri lent us his copy of Dreams From My Father, we put off reading it for months, not wanting to find out more about candidate Barack Obama. Then we read it, and were impressed with the clarity of Obama's thinking, and his political positions.

Then Bri lent us his copy of The Audacity of Hope. We put off reading that because we found Obama so fascinating. And we didn't want to vote for a fascinating outlier of a candidate who wouldn't have a prayer against Hillary Clinton, the inevitable candidate, or John Edwards, whose political positions we largely agree with. We chose to go with a symbolic candidate, Dennis Kucinich, whose positions are the closest to our own of all the available candidates. When Kucinich bowed out, we naturally opted for Edwards. Then Edwards bowed out, and we were forced to make a choice.

We didn't know much about Obama. We had deliberately chosen not to know. But in order to come to a decision, we needed to know something.

We finally read his book. Once again, we were blown away. But somebody's book is, of course, going to show them in the best possible light. No one's going to write a book that makes them look like a schlump.

Then came Bill Clinton's unfortunate remarks on the campaign trail. They did not make us think worse of Obama, but they certainly made us take a hard look at Bill. And, by extension, at his wife. We were offended, but not enough to switch our support openly to either candidate.

Since then, Clinton has threatened to sue the Texas Democratic party; insisted on seating the delegates of Florida and Michigan, even though she had signed a pledge not to campaign in either state, but broke her promise and failed to take her name off the ballot and campaigned anyway; accused Obama of plagiarizing when he borrowed parts of his close friend Deval Patrick's excellent speech &mdash with permission; and implied that those Democrats, liberals, and left-leaning voters who did not want to vote for her should throw their votes to senile warmonger John McCain.

Still we resisted finding out about Obama, but we were starting to feel strongly that Clinton's approach was not to build herself up as the best candidate, but to tear down the other Democrat seeking the nomination. We really don't care much about plagiarism in politicians (it would be different if Obama were making money off his plagiarism like a certain White House appointee of ill-fame). We happen to think voting to support a very unpopular war is a much bigger issue.

Then Geraldine Ferraro, another person we had long admired, made an incredibly divisive, unpleasant, racist attack against Obama and against the people who were supporting him. We can mostly accept that politicians will attack each other, although we were deeply disappointed in the Clintons' descent into the worst gutter politics. But to attack other Democrats, other voters, for supporting the other candidate &mdash coming on top of all the other unpleasantness &mdash was more than we could stomach.

We had already heard infuriating comments from various branches of NOW across the country telling women that they were stupid or disloyal for finding Senator Obama's message &mdash not his looks, or his clothes, but his political message &mdash more attractive than Senator Clinton's.

Today we heard Barack Obama speak. Here, we offer you the YouTube video of his speech.

Senator Obama has not descended to the level of the Clinton machine, but that's beside the point. In this speech, Obama shows why he deserves to be our nominee and our president. His clarity, lucidity, and understanding of the issues are no less than his great empathy. This man has the seeds of greatness in him.

Today, we celebrate not the negative issue of being pushed away by Hillary Clinton; but the very positive issue of resonating with Barack Obama.

Everything he is saying is something we strongly support. Not this time, he says. Not this time, we won't be distracted by sex scandals, or race scandals, or gender issues. We can work together, despite all our differences. Because only by working together can we overcome the horrendous mess that the country is now in.

Barack Obama inspires us to reclaim our dreams and hopes for this nation. We can, once again, rise to the heights we were meant to achieve. We can live up to the words of the Declaration, we can form a more perfect union, and believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Yes. We. Can.

Addendum: We have, since the attack dogs began attacking, started researching Senator Obama's positions on various issues. There is no doubt in our mind which candidate's position is closer to ours. We're not interested in a cult of personality or adoration of a politician. Politicians are elected to do the will of the people. We believe that Barack Obama's greatness lies in his willingness to listen to ordinary people.

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At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo! Welcome to the land of politics-as-not-so-usual. While I'm certainly not opposed to a Democrat in the White House, I've finally found a candidate in Obama that I can actually vote for, not settle for.

Somehow, that's the way I would feel if Hillary winds up with the nomination.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Batocchio said...

Interesting recap. I have my concerns about Obama (and Clinton, and McCain,) but I thought the speech rocked.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Chuck Butcher said...

It does not pay to forget that both of these people have flourished sufficently in a deeply flawed system to be credible candidates for the Presidency.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Henry said...

I have been sleeping on a copy of Audacity of Hope. Now I'm wondering if it'd make a better read than a pillow. I do like this guy, especially if he intends to set a good example to animal lovers by getting his kids a dog and not strapping it to the roof rack when they go on vacation (unlike Mitt the Nitwit). Although a cat like me would be a much better pet, as well as advisor. I want to know where I could find an Obama bumper sticker that wouldn't pull the hair off my bum when the election is over. That Goo Gone stuff just gives me a rash.


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