Posts Tagged 'Iraq War'

Okay. I have some love for Barack.

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With regard to Barack Obama, I might’ve spoken a little to soon, and a little too definitively. Though I stand by just about everything I said, I think my general implication, that Obama has masterminded some kind of malevolent and intentionally misleading campaign (which I more or less considered, truth be told) is a bit off. Perhaps way off.

The thing is, watching Obama get flustered in the debates, as Clinton and Edwards blatantly team up on him, it seems clear to me that the man really, truly believes what he says. Regardless of how I feel about his vague or flat-out naive plans to bring about the “hope” and “change” he’s campaigning on, my first impression of the man was built on cynicism rather than what I was actually seeing and hearing. Granted, I grew up through three separate Bush Administrations and eight years of a Clinton White House. I’m entitled to some cynicism.

However.

I do believe Obama has more or less deflected the question of his race. In the debate on Monday, when asked about whether or not it should be taken into consideration that the potential first African-American President was in the race, he called Americans to vote not for what divides us, but for those things which unite us. That is, he actually referred to his ethnicity as a divisive element. Upon reviewing his famous address at the 2004 DNC, I discovered he refers to himself not as a black man, but simply as “a skinny kid with a funny name”. I maintain that he is not at all an African American, but believe now that he more or less holds this opinion himself. It is rather those in the media and public arena who have continued to label him, even marginalize him as the “black” candidate.

I’m open to the idea that the man really is this earnest. Maybe he didn’t write his two books to setup his ethnicity and insulate himself from criticism over prior drug use and general bad behavior in his youth. Maybe he just flat-out means what he says, and wants this country to know who he is, all the way. Maybe he felt compelled to join Trinity United for genuine, personal reasons; maybe he found truth there. The frustration in his eyes, and thorough explanations he provides to defend himself against so many allegations, allegations of ties to radical Islamic leader Louis Farrakhan, or an inconsistent record in the Senate with regard to the war in Iraq (a blatant lie from the Clinton campaign — the man has been a model of consistency on the issue) simply cannot be tacked on. It’s just hard to believe that a politician can be so heartfelt, so humane and, quite frankly, so naive.

He’s young. He’s inexperienced. If he’s elected, I’m not convinced he’ll be able to do much good for this nation in practical terms (getting us out of Iraq, fixing the economy, etc.). At best, things won’t be any worse in four years. But in terms of our national morale, in terms of doing something to lessen our contentiousness, the open hostility between our two parties, which every day become more and more alike, I believe he may make a difference or, in his words, a change. Perhaps great change. And someone as cynical as I am about politics and our American government could certainly go for that.