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Barack Obama, Rev. Wright, Proper Context, & Taking Things Way Too Personally 
18th-Mar-2008 02:34 pm
Obama Speech: 'A More Perfect Union'
Full text here.

I've become a party to taking things a lot more seriously and personally than could ever be good for me to do. I believe that Barack Obama would be better for our country as President than Hillary Clinton, although I think she would do a good job as well - but I don't feel she's what we NEED, he is. I've felt this since day one, even when I've been critical of Obama - and I have been.

Reading the posts on my friends list, especially those from Hillary supporters and discussions in comment threads, I'm astonished at just how divided the liberals/Democrats have become. It's made me very defensive and guarded, and for a while there was actually causing me to become depressed. I've come to realize that for most of us who are involved, there is a lot at stake. We understand the gravity of the upcoming election and that we're living in an extremely dangerous and uncertain time. Between the occupation in Iraq (because that's what it is, goddamnit - stop calling it a fucking war, IT'S NOT, and even those key people involved know it's a sham), the economy, health care, gas prices, the environment, and the blatant abuse of civil rights, we're all scared and concerned. I myself have felt completely defeated and hopeless where our government is concerned, and not because of the obvious reasons - which quite frankly would be enough - but because I'm scared of what we have become. I've been scared of our current standing in the world because of the Bush Administration's actions. I've been scared of our principles as a nation for having twice elected people that have repeatedly gang raped the Constitution. I've been scared because the real damage, the damage that hasn't even come down the proverbial pipe yet as a result of all of these things, is going to make it all much worse before it gets any better. I've been ashamed to be an American.

I'm tired of feeling scared, I want to feel angry. Anger is much more productive for me and it fuels me to accomplish things for a greater good. Lately my anger has been directed at the wrong people and I'm trying to get beyond that, because there is no place for being self defeating anymore. I don't begrudge any of you for your own personal convictions because you cannot be wrong for stating a personal preference. I've taken personally what I've felt as pot-shots against people who favor Barack Obama from people who favor Hillary Clinton. I worked on both Clinton campaigns and believe that even with the mistakes I feel he made as President, his was the best Presidency I've experienced in my lifetime. I don't feel it does Hillary Clinton any justice to compare her too much to her husband, because for starters she's not him. Also because she's facing an entirely different world now as a potential President than her husband did, that world of then doesn't even resemble the one we are in now. She has more stacked against her in that area alone than he ever did, plus she has not only her own baggage to lug around but his as well. In many ways, he has actually done more harm than good on her campaign, which is really unfortunate to many - myself included, because I admire him tremendously. Too many people gunning for him are gunning for her by association. Which is in my estimation completely fucked up and unfair to her, and it pisses me off.

We who blog about politics do so because we believe and we are passionate, and we want to be out from under the despair and hopelessness we've felt for almost a decade now. Regardless of my own personal support of Barack Obama, I also stand with my brothers and sisters who support Hillary Clinton's candidacy and do so vocally and with a fierceness and devout conviction about it. We're unified in what is most important, and that is in bringing and end to the disastrous actions of the GOP and its minions. I know full well that Democrats are only a few slim degrees better and that they have GOT to stop being such lame fucking pussies and start fighting harder and by proxy working harder, better, and more efficiently.

All of that having been said, I'm starting to feel renewal. Once again hopeful, if only in small doses for right now. I'm really defeated you guys, really disenchanted and embittered. As always before Spring gives rebirth to everything, I go through something like this - but this year has been especially hard on me just because of the state of affairs we're living in.

At right is the video of the speech Barack Obama gave today to address the scandal of Rev. Wright's comments and his influence in the 20 years that they have known one another, but in a broader picture that applies to it all in the context of race and unification.

The Rude Pundit weighs in on the speech as well, in a way only he can.
19th-Mar-2008 05:55 am (UTC)
then quite vehemently and vitriolically went on the offensive with their attack, instantly starting with "Obamaniac" then going directly downhill from there.

It's really funny you should say this, because my own experience has been exactly the opposite, to the point where I removed the person from my friends' list and told them I wanted no further communication from them becuase they turned every message into a personal attack on me. And yes, this person is a staunch Obama supporter.

I offer the zealots exists on both sides of this campaign, and that their actions are what's contributing to the foul taste in our mouths.

Now, what I'm going to say is probably going to upset you, but I have to be honest. I have seen nothing yet from Obama that will make me vote for him should he get the nomination. In fact, everything I've seen reminds me so much of the 2000 Bush campaign, that I'm quite frankly, scared.

We are at a perilous crossroads in our nation's history. To be blunt, we're fucked right now, and I don't believe Obama's message of hope and change is going to be enough to really affect the change we need.

In my opinion (and it's only my opinion), we need someone in the White House next year who has significant public policy experience, the connections behind-the-scenes to get things done, the ability to build cross-party coalitions and consensus, and the balls to make the tough decisions when necessary.

I am not convinced that Obama can be that person. He hasn't had enough time in Washington to do that.

I have never voted for a Republican Presidential candidate; if Obama gets the nomination this year, I may vote for McCain because I believe he can navigate the shark-infested waters, and work with the Democrats to fix the mess.

The experience card plays very heavy for me this year. Naievvete and hope is not what we need in the White House. Leadership is. Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain have proven their leadership, ideologies notwithstanding.
19th-Mar-2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
See, I was really trying to give the benefit of the doubt here and really see how to project myself into your responses here throughout this thread, but this is where I have to draw the line and say "No, that I cannot gel with":
"I have never voted for a Republican Presidential candidate; if Obama gets the nomination this year, I may vote for McCain because I believe he can navigate the shark-infested waters, and work with the Democrats to fix the mess.

The experience card plays very heavy for me this year. Naievvete and hope is not what we need in the White House. Leadership is. Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain have proven their leadership, ideologies notwithstanding."
This was the part that I went from "Okay, I'll agree to disagree" because my teeth jumped out of my head, turned around, and ate my brain. Quite frankly, I'm horrified. How that bellicose experience from a flip-flopper the likes of McCain would serve us better than Barack Obama... I don't even have the words right now to explain the depth of my abject horror on that.

Edited at 2008-03-19 02:11 pm (UTC)
19th-Mar-2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
I see too much of George W Bush in Barak Obama. Right now, he's all platitudes, banking on the 'feel good' message. Well, I've been down that road before; watched it in the '80's with Reagan, saw it again in the '00 with the Shrub. It led to the same places both times. We can't go there again, and that's my "abject horror" point.

I don't want to vote for McCain. Really. It's going against every instinct. But voting for Obama is even worse for me. (Not that my vote for the Democrat or the Republican Presidential Candidate will matter much in Utah anyway — this state is going to go to McCain anyway you slice it.)
19th-Mar-2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
I have never voted for a Republican Presidential candidate; if Obama gets the nomination this year, I may vote for McCain because I believe he can navigate the shark-infested waters, and work with the Democrats to fix the mess.

This doesn't upset me, it just profoundly saddens me.

My partner of a decade-and-a-half and I lived in the middle of being the Republicans' "whippin' boys" in 2004 in Georgia and then again in 2006 in South Carolina, with that party's faux-hysteria over "Marriage Protection Amendments" to their respective state constitutions. With those actions, as well as the party's efforts at the national level to pass an amendment to the U.S. constitution banning anything resembling "marriage" or even just basic legal protections for us as a couple, the Republicans abdicated and forfeited my vote for the rest of my life.

Given the total and repeated animus the Republican party has produced against anyone not straight, white and (usually) male all across the southeastern U.S., and what their national platform consistently states that Republicans stand for, I simply cannot fathom any of "us" casting a ballot for a party that considers "us" to be capital-t "Them". After my experiences with and under Republicans for the last many years, the concept of a "Gay Republican" makes as much sense to me as "Jews For Allah" or "Hindu Steakhouse". Any and all of those simply Do Not Compute for me.

Never mind the fiasco of "Great Job, Brownie!" after Katrina. Or the lack of WMDs in Iraq. Or the mess that's been made of the economy in favor of Oil, Big Bidness (bless you, Molly Ivins!), and Big Oil Bidness. The "gay thing" alone shall prevent me from ever considering casting my vote for anyone with a "-R" after their name.

You are quite right - we're fucked right now. And I see no need, no reason, and no motivation to allow our fuckers to continue to pound away at us using sand as lube.
19th-Mar-2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
You are quite right - we're fucked right now. And I see no need, no reason, and no motivation to allow our fuckers to continue to pound away at us using sand as lube.

I've somewhat reconciled with myself that equal rights under the law for "us" may not be something I see in my lifetime; that may take too long at the pace we're going.

Right now, I'm more worried about the continued devaluation of the dollar, the continued collapse of the airline industry, the continued erosion of the middle class, etc., etc., etc.

Those are problems that need addressing. Hope and platitudes won't fix any of those things. Despite my distaste for Republicans in general, and this is not meant in any way, shape or form as an endorsement, McCain (and Clinton) in particular has shown an ability to work with those on the other side of the aisle in drafting and passing legislation, and has been around long enough to forge the kind of relationships that will eventually help.

I am wary of his ideologies, but legislation is not a one-man (or one-woman) show; no President can make legislation on his/her own. It's only when we have one-party dominance in both the White House and Congress that we see major damage, and I don't think we're going to see Congress swing back to the Republicans this year.

I know I sound like a broken record at this point; I apologize for that.
19th-Mar-2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
I, too, have resigned myself to "us" never having full rights in the U.S. under the law in my lifetime. Which is one of the many reasons my hubby and I are trying our damnedest to find jobs in the greater Toronto area, where we were legally married last summer after many years together.

As it stands now, we can pay a local lawyer around $1,000 each for new wills, new powers-of-attorney, new medical powers-of-attorney, etc., since we now live in a state different than where we lived when our present documents were created. However, thanks to all of the "Marriage Protection Amendments" that have been enacted across the southeastern U.S. over the past several years, there's an excellent chance that none of those new documents would be held legally binding because they give the appearance of at least a civil union if not outright marriage between two men. For that, we have the Republicans' fear mongering and only the Republican party to thank.

Two of your listed fears - the continued devaluation of the dollar, and the erosion of the middle class - are, in my mind, directly attributable to the actions as well as inactions of the Republicans who held Full Power in this country at the Federal level for 6 of the last 8 years. Having more Republicans in control of the different parts of the Executive branch, and expecting them to do something different than they have already done over the past 8 years, seems at best foolhardy to me. For example, the actions of the Treasury secretary in ensuring that Bear Stearns was taken care of to its executives benefit, all while bleating that any help for those dealing with their home mortgages should never occur and that the homeowners should just basically suck it up. Or the actions of the Treasury coupled with the Federal Reserve to "fix" the problems in the financial sectors by printing more and more dollars, thus giving us the devaluation of the dollar you say you fear.

And, from my perspective, many of the reddest-of-the-red states will continue staying red, and not moving to the slightest shade of purple (I know better than to hope for blue), as long as folks throw up their hands and say "I may as well vote the way the rest of the state votes, since it just doesn't matter". You may be surprised, as I was in 1992 when Georgia squeaked into the blue column for the only time in the last 6 elections, by 13,000 votes out of over 2.2 million votes cast.

As I said previously, regardless of whether the Democratic nominee is Clinton or Obama, I plan on casting my vote for them, regardless of any misgivings I might have with the Democrat. I can not, and from now on can never, cast my ballot for a Republican in good conscience and expect to sleep at night. That's how it is for me. You, obviously, have different priorities and have no problem voting for a Republican because you feel McCain more properly aligns with your concerns. So be it, and we'll just have to Agree To Disagree. Perhaps strenuously, but A-to-D nonetheless.
19th-Mar-2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
You know, I may bite my proverbial tongue while saying this, but not all Republicans are/were evil. I mean, Nixon was a decent President overall, barring Watergate, of course. And Ford picked up the pieces nicely, but didn't have the "oomph" to win the election. We've just had some doozies of Republican Presidents in the last twenty years.

I think the problems you outlined are all valid, and all attributable to the sources you name as well. However, I have to point out most of those decisions were made when the Republicans also controlled the Congress, and/or by Republican-appointed nominees who now have no direct Congressional oversight. All-in-all, I think it's a perfect example of why we need to have different parties in control of the Executive and Legislative branches.

I agree that many of the reddest states won't shift at all; I wouldn't expect that in a Presidential election anyway. But seriously, until we get rid of the electoral college, the individual vote is practically worthless when it comes to the Presidential race. I will continue to vote Democratic for everything else; my vote will at least count there — it's how we got a Democrat elected to the U.S. Sentate in Utah, after all (even if, as they say, he's a Democrat in name only). :)

But yes, I suppose we will have to agree to disagree, and I'm okay with that. :)
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