Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama Musings

TransGriot Note: I decided to share this with the readers of The Bilerico Project, where I'm a contributing writer as well.

As an Obama supporter, I was estatic about the weekend sweep of primaries and caucuses held in Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska on Saturday and yesterday's in Maine.

As Sen. Obama told a cheering crowd at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Richmond, VA Saturday, "We won in Louisiana, we won in Nebraska, we won in Washington state. We won north, we won south, we won in between. And I believe that we can win Virginia on Tuesday if you're ready to stand for change."

So do I. The next group of primaries and caucuses will be held in Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia on Tuesday but it's looking more and more as though my home state of Texas and Ohio's March 4 primaries will be the ones that could possibly decide it. I won't get a chance to chime in on this race as a Kentucky resident until May.

But then again, as competitive as this 2008 campaign has been, I might get lucky.

One thing I am disturbed about is the whispers I'm hearing from the lunatic fringe of the web. They are apoplectic about the possibility of an African-American taking the oath of office at noon on January 20, 2009 and I'm afraid of what forms their desperation to prevent that from happening may take.

But then again, I'm going to take the advice of a former Democratic president who took office in more darker times in this country and said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" in his 1933 inaugural address.

The beautiful part of this race is that as a Democrat, I win if either one gets the nomination. Either person who eventually gets the nomination would be making history. Both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama are eminently more qualified than the idiot-in-thief who currently occupies it or whoever the GOP puts up to oppose them, which is looking more and more as if that person will be Sen. John McCain.

As Sen. Obama keeps winning primary after primary and caucus after caucus, I keep hearing this bullshit 'lack of experience' charge. Abraham Lincoln only served a single US House term and had lost a race for the US Senate just two years before he was elected president in 1860. We all know how his presidency turned out.

The current misadministration was touted as the 'most experienced in history, and look how badly they've jacked this country up. Sen. Clinton's 'experience' didn't keep her from voting for a lousy bankruptcy bill or the Iraq war.

I'm also tired of hearing the 'he's only winning because of the African-American vote' charge. If that was the case, then by that flawed logic he should have lost in Washington state, which has a whopping 1% African-American population, Nebraska, which has a 4.3% African-American population, Maine which has a gigantic African-American population of 0.8% percent, and Sen Obama should have never won the Iowa caucuses or finished second in New Hampshire.

It may be news to many of you peeps that think we African-Americans have a Borg-like hive mind that moves in lockstep with each other, but the reality is that we are not monolithic in our thinking. Even in my own family I have peeps who support Sen. Clinton, and one of the bumper stickers on my car says 'I Miss Bill'.

My admiration for President Clinton is such that I stopped on my way back to Louisville from my cousin's November 2006 wedding in Dallas to visit Hope, AK and the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

That admiration however, did take a major hit during the South Carolina primary. Like former Virginia governor and now mayor of Richmond L. Douglas Wilder, I wasn't happy about the race baiting comments 'Brother Bill' made during that heated race.

The facts are that African-Americans, when choosing a candidate, use the same criteria to decide who to support as any other voters do. We look at the issues, look at our wallets and purses, check out the platforms of the candidates, see if they fit our values and our agenda, and if their current words match their past deeds.

We also base our decisions on whether this candidate when they've finshed serving their potential eight years in the Oval Office will leave the country and the African-American community in better shape than it was when they were sworn in.

It just so happens that some of us have done the analysis and concluded that Barack Obama is the right person for the job. It also doesn't hurt that he's a brother.

Would I like to see someone who looks like me in the White House? You damn skippy I would.

I would love to see an African-American president in real life and not being played by actors on a TV show or a movie. Latinos and women feel the same way. I believe they would love to see someone who shares their cultural heritage in the presidency just as many women would love to see Sen. Clinton take the oath of office as well.

I was a Jesse Jackson delegate in 1984. His 1984 and 1988 runs for the presidency got many people of my generation registered, focused their attention on getting involved in the politcal process and paying attention to it. It also inspired many of us to consider running for office ourselves.

Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama's campaigns are having the same effect on this generation of young people. It's also reminding my generation of how important it is to stay engaged in politics and I'm extremely happy to see record breaking voter turnout and increasing voter registration as well.

That's something all progressives can be happy about, no matter what candidate we're supporting.

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