13 February 2008

Mr. Obama Goes to Washington


I've been interested to note your evident support for Obama, and I was hoping you'd do me the honor of explaining to me why you're backing him and what makes him preferable to Mrs C. I could read up on this in my usual press outlets, but would rather hear it from someone at grassroots level than a stuffy columnist, really.

Reply in as much detail as you feel necessary!

All the best,

Matt



I received this message today from a friend of mine who lives in England. It must be curious to observe from a distance this wacky race we call the presidential primaries. It may or may not come to a surprise to everyone out there that I am an Obama supporter. I've never explained my position on this however, nor have I expressed any sentiment towards Clinton. This presents me with an excellent opportunity to do so.

So why Barack Obama? Why not Clinton? It's certainly not their stances on political issues. We are fortunate in this race to have two candidates who champion many of the causes that we speak for in our daily lives. People need access to health care. We need to stop allowing companies the ability to pollute. We need to repeal the tax breaks that Bush put into place that only benefit his wealthy contributors. We need to stop this heartbreaking, costly and destructive war.

Most importantly, we need to change the perception of the world that America is a swaggering, self-centered, destructive lout that imposes its will where it pleases, and will destroy all in its path for profit. That's not America. That's a rather accurate description of this administration and this president.

If Obama and Clinton share similar ideas, why do I prefer Obama? There are a few reasons there. First, to paraphrase David Dinkins, I'm not against Clinton, I'm for Obama. If Clinton garners the Democratic nomination, I will happily vote for her. It's not that I don't feel that she is qualified, or that she would make a fine president.

I just think Barack Obama will be a better one.



Politics as usual. That's what bothers me about Clinton. Hillary, and even more importantly Bill Clinton are masters of politics. They are able to use the machine to achieve their mostly noble goals. Bill was an excellent president, one of the best of the 20th century, an achievement even more notable for the fact that he managed to accomplish so much while being dogged at every step by a hostile Republican party, lead by Newt Gingrich, one of the more reprehensible figures to grace our national stage in some time (a man that was demonizing Clinton for cheating on his wife while he himself had a mistress--the difference being Clinton didn't dump his wife while she recovered from cancer therapy in a hospital).

The Clintons, and make no mistake, they are as much of a team now as they were when Bill was President, know how to play that fiddle. And you know what? I'm sick of that particular tune.

Obama's campaign has been built on progress, on moving forward. Clinton's campaign has been built on "Look at all of the bad things I can say about my opponent." When Obama speaks, people listen. People believe, because he doesn't speak to tell people what they want to hear, he tells them what they need. They need hope. They need change. They need a leader that they don't need to apologize for, a leader whose faults they don't need to look past. A leader that inspires all, from young to old.

Obama's done it. His supporters are young and old, black and white, men and women. He makes people believe, and to look forward to the future for once. He doesn't traffic in fear. He traffics in change, and anyone who has ever heard him speak generally finds it hard to discount the power he has in his voice.

And on another note, the very presence of a man that was born of a white Protestant mother and a black Kenyan father, who was raised by his mother and Indonesian stepfather in Indonesia, a man who has admitted past drug use and doesn't lie about it, someone who attended a Muslim school as a child, will inevitably change the perception of America abroad. It's easy to consider the US a devilish nation controlled by rich WASPy white men, but what happens when that is subverted?

It's not a race thing. It's not a gender thing. It's just time for a change in the way things are. Obama can built friendships and coalitions, can facilitate new ideas and can lead this nation on the path of better living, both at home and abroad.

And that's why he had my vote in the primaries.

3 comments:

Andy said...

You offer a great, encompassing defense of your vote. Well done.

Chatty Knitter said...

wow. well spoken.

I worked in politics for awhile, during the heyday of Clinton's Senatorial career, and I can say from firsthand observation that the dog and pony show she and her cronies run won't bring any meaningful change to the White House or this nation.

She also used to sit on the Board of Directors for Wal-Mart, which to me is the complete embodiment of everything that is wrong wrong wrong with us. I come out of a union background too, so that particularly rankles our set and makes it challenging to support her.

Ms. Laaw-yuhr said...

Nicely done. Although I'm personally for Hillary, like you I respect Obama and will support either candidate.