Bravo once again to Jon Stewart! Out of all the political talk-shows, pundit-popping panels, and even Keith Olberman’s program (which I’ve grown to love in recent weeks), no one but Jon actually understood what Reverend Jeremiah Wright was saying this weekend. They were too busy looking for the next salacious sound-bite to listen to what the good reverend was actually talking about (Obama is [just] a politician? Oh my god! Rev. Wright just threw Obama under the bus! Let’s completely ignore that lack of a [just] and the fact that this is certainly not what he meant.) What he was saying is black and white are different. Neither is inherently better than the other, we’re just different. We white people get uncomfortable with preachers who are too fiery. For black Christians, fiery preaching is the norm. And what reverend Wright was saying in those sermons that yielded the sound-bites that have been circulating for the last several months was actually correct. God will curse (damn) America if America continues to oppress others and foster injustice. (If any of you think that America has never oppressed anyone, cause after all we’re the land of the free, you need a harsh history lesson.) But at any rate, cheers to the Daily Show for calling the media on this manufactured controversy. Reverend Wright is not some mill-stone around Obama’s neck, or at least would not be if the media would focus their attention for even a moment on anything but the snippets of statements that can be spun negatively or misconstrued.
Entries from April 2008
April 28th, 2008 · No Comments · Category: Racism
April 26th, 2008 · No Comments · Category: Election
I must admit I am getting very fed up with this campaign. The constant back and forth, accusations, character assassination, and souring of messages makes me ill. Hillary Clinton and the media have been branding Barack Obama as an elitist, a racist, a secret Muslim, a radical Christian, a terrorist, inexperienced, a product of hype, a paper tiger, and everyone who supports him as being cultists. Yes, the phrase “Drinking the Kool-aid” was dropped. Which leads me to the following series of questions.
How does the media, ostensibly the seekers and purveyors of truth in America, let Hillary get away with branding Obama as elitist when she has been in Washington and New York for the last 16 years and has received way more support from special interests?
How can a rich white woman accuse a black man of being racist? Why has the media not simply shown the full context, or at least a bit more context, to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “inflammatory” sermons. (I listened to both of them and in context they are not nearly as bad as the 30 second soundbites would make them seem. They’re available on Youtube, among all the people playing the 30 second version and calling him a racist. Do a search for “Reverend Wright in Context” and you’ll be able to find them.)
How can someone be accused of being a secret Muslim at the same time he’s being accused of being a radical Christian? Honestly, the cognitive dissonance required is enough to make my head hurt.
Barack Obama is being attacked for serving on the board of an “anti-poverty, philanthropic foundation” with a former member of the Weather Underground, a violent anti-Vietnam war group. Despite the fact that William Ayers is currently a “Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education” and was used as a consultant by Mayor Daley to “Shape that city’s now nationally-renowned school reform program” does not enter into it. Because Obama was on the board of an anti-poverty foundation with someone who 30 years ago was a leftist terrorist (all charges against him were dropped by the way), he is obviously a terrorist. (References on William Ayers can be found at wikipedia.)
The rest of the accusations are just silly. I have yet to see Hillary Clinton roll up her sleeves and help rebuild New Orleans or give money to people losing their homes. Has anyone seen Hillary Clinton do anything but give speeches? And yet Barack Obama is the one who is all talk.
Finally, for those of us who support Obama to be called cultists is a little much. In the “great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work” (Merriam Webster) kind of way, I suppose we are. What Clinton would like us to believe however is not that we have devotion to Obama’s movement for change, or his ideas, or his work, but that we are members of a cult of personality. We however do not think that Obama is perfect (he himself admits that. Hillary oddly doesn’t ever admit it when she makes a mistake.) we simply think that he is vastly better for this country than Hillary Clinton or John McCain. (For a little background, if this was eight years ago, I would be whole-heartedly supporting McCain. The last eight years have not been kind to John McCain. It is a tragedy.) We who support Obama think the smear campaign by Senator Clinton against Reverend Wright (who incidentally was the pastor that Bill Clinton turned to for “Moral Guidance” and forgiveness during the Monica Lewinsky scandal) and Senator Obama is just wrong, and unhealthy for America. Hillary, please stop. Please stop hurting America.
…once you’ve painted a one-legged war hero as a traitor to his country, what process is there to go back to? – Jon Stewart, America the Book.
April 15th, 2008 · No Comments · Category: Uncategorized
So there’s been a lot of buzz in the media this week about Obama’s poorly chosen words about how the poor are “bitter.” Because of this “bitter” talk, Hillary and McCain are calling Obama out of touch with small-town America. Yes, the woman who made $109 MILLION dollars in the last seven years and the husband of a millionaire heiress are calling the single-mother raised community organizer out of touch with the American people. Obama clarified his position with some better thought-out words later, expanding on what he said to make it clear what he meant. He did not say that the American people were sitting around on their porches being bitter at any and everyone, he said that they are bitter at the government because every four years politicians come around and promise them the moon and then disappear until there’s another election, and that is why they may have problems voting for someone like Obama who is tauting change.
The other part of the brouhaha is that Obama said these people cling to their guns, their religion, antipathy towards people who are different, etc. If this were to stand, I would be quite upset at these words. I think this has a much stronger punch than merely calling people bitter. Hell, I know a lot of bitter people. Obama explained what he meant by that a few days later. He meant that Americans who have been passed up by the Bush and the Clinton presidencies no longer trust in the government. They instead cling to the things that give them comfort and strength like Religion, or the feeling of strength like guns. They vote against their economic interests over issues of abortion (which Bush made a big deal about and has done nothing to stop), immigration, gun-control (which the Democrats are not going to do anything about), and other non-issues. Okay, worded THAT way, I can buy it.
The question remains though, is Barack Obama out of touch and elitist? That’s what the Clinton and McCain campaigns would like to paint him as. It worked against Kerry and Gore they say (Clinton is really getting the hang of attacking her own party. Just like Gore and Kerry? Really? “People see us democrats as elitist and out of touch… except for me of course…”) I don’t think Obama is elitist. He’s elite, certainly (Although I have not heard whether he has done a “righteous hack” yet. Clinton may disagree.) He’s well educated, literate, intelligent, and eloquent, especially when compared to our current Commander-in-Chief. But I don’t think he looks down on us. Honestly, though he may not like the comparison, he reminds me of Reagan in that he seems to believe in the goodness of the American people. Say what you will about Reagan, he actually seemed to think highly of Americans. George Bush, for all the comparison to monkeys and jokes about him being a complete idiot, is an elitist. Bush honestly thinks that we, the American people, are too stupid to know what’s going on and too stupid to care. He talks down to us. Obama on the other hand talks up to us. Gaffe aside, in every speech he gives, he is speaking to us as adults. Clinton and McCain are out of their minds if they think Obama is more out of touch with the American people than they are. Both of them talk to us micro-cephalic bilobes as if we are children. Just count the number of syllables.
April 1st, 2008 · No Comments · Category: Election
Eight years ago I voted in my first primary. It was the first election I was eligible to vote in and I cast my vote strongly for John McCain. I had no qualms about doing so and was quite saddened when George Bush won the nomination. I had been a fan of McCain since seeing him on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He was smart, had a great sense of humor, and was known as a centrist, a maverick by Republican standards. I voted for George Bush the first time (fool me once…) as I had not really forged my own political identity. I was raised Republican and at the time thought second-handedly that a Democrat winning the White-house would mean America turning into an orgy of depravity (despite a democrat having been their for the previous 7 years and leading to the most prosperous decade in American History. Say what you will about the 90s, at least it wasn’t the 80’s.) I suppose it’s been kind of a guilt thing. Every time I see John McCain I think of what could have been. What if John McCain had been elected President? Would he have heeded the warnings and stopped 9-11? Would we have gone into Iraq or stayed after the actual terrorists in Afghanistan?
Well it’s election time again and we once more have a chance to vote for John McCain for president. It seems rather sad that I can no longer support him. Sometime in between losing to now President Bush in the primaries and this current campaign, John McCain has come to the conclusion that being a centrist will not get him elected. So he has gone far, far further to the right than I would have thought possible eight years ago. While I was still living under the auspices of my Republican upbringing, I recognized in McCain something that seemed and has subsequently been proved to be lacking in Bush: Common sense. McCain was at the time a pragmatic individual, cynical in an honest, good way. He would be more at home on the Daily Show than the campus of Liberty University shaking hands with Jerry Falwell and praising his ilk. Perhaps McCain has honestly changed his mind and become more conservative. Or perhaps John McCain came to the realization that in order to win his party’s nomination he would have to appeal to the base, but if that is the case he has become cynical in a bad way.
I would really like to be able to support John McCain for the presidency this year. Despite everything I still consider myself a right-leaning centrist. Alas, John McCain has moved himself right out of my sphere. And that would normally bring me back to my usual state of disgusted cynicism with politics. However, a new challenger has entered the ring. Someone who seems to favor pragmatism and possess common sense, but instead of even the good cynicism, he possesses something far better: Hope. Now some who are cynical in a bad way may well say that this is all a show on the part of Barack Obama, that he’s secretly disingenuous and just after power, but everything I have seen of him and first-hand accounts I have read paint him as genuine. And this is the saddest part of all, because cynic though I am, America needs hope more than anything these days. And so I cannot bring myself to vote for the man I supported eight years ago. Time marches on and it is time for a change. On the plus side, if either Obama or McCain succeed to the presidency I can be okay with that. For the first time since voting for McCain in the 2000 primaries I can vote for the person I think would be better for the position instead of voting against someone I think would be a disaster. This at least is a net positive.