Friday, February 08, 2008

Again - Why I Support Obama

Retreading the same argument over and over again, answering the same (tiresome) questions, responding to the same (tiresome) criticisms is telling on me. My patience has thinned to non-existence, my nerves are frail, and I do believe I'm on the verge of a full-blown hissy fit.

- I am supporting Barack Obama because he gets it. "It" being what it takes to be elected President of the United States. It isn't about policy (especially as there are few policy differences between Clinton and Obama) but about a perception of governance. Clinton is campaigning, essentially, as the better manager. Obama is campaigning for President - a much larger frame of reference, with a far different cv necessary.

- I have no illusions about Obama's ideological position. I am not only not expecting miracles. I am not expecting fireworks or the sudden end to controversy or the need to hold him, and the entire government, accountable.

- I will not countenance, however, any insults to the millions who voted, in a kind of faux-elitist contempt. Democrats are turning out in droves (unlike Republicans) because they have two candidates who would make superb Presidents. We have people we can vote for. It's been more than a while since that happened. TO claim that Democratic voters are too stupid or ignorant to understand the process they are engaged in is, for me, beyond the pale. It is more than the whining of losers, it is the false smugness of the eternally self-satisfied.

- Obama's message of hope is the necessary message for our time. Period. Even should he not win the nomination, he has changed the rhetorical dynamic of the race.

- I believe that electing Barack Obama President of the United States will open up vast energies of enthusiasm and a sense of arriviste that a younger generation of Americans (even at 42, I include myself in this cohort; Obama is only three years older than I) both needs and will welcome. The boomer's have proven themselves ill-suited for governance, not once but twice, with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The new generation to whom a torch should be passed is one thatis quite tired of Republican nonsense, and the constant drumbeat of "must"'s that we hear from conservatives. The government, the economy, the society - they are ours, and we will fashion them for all our ends.

- Hope is not the same as blind faith. It includes faith, indeed, but is an active, rather than passive thing. It is working towards realizing that which in which we believe. All the tired dismissals of Obama's talk of hope misses the simple fact that for far too long both Republicans and Democrats have not told us we not only should be better than we are, but that we have the power to be better. We are not called upon to believe in Sen. Obama, but ourselves.

This last point, as I say elsewhere, is powerful mojo for me. This is a song I can sing in the shower, a tune I can whistle while I drive, a book I can recommend to friends. There is just something deeply American - rooted in the best traditions of our country - about this appeal. It is Lincolnesque, Rooseveltian, even Reaganesque (notice I do not say Kennedyan; I am not a booster for Camelot) in the best senses of those terms.

Finally, like Dr. Atrios says, it isn't about me. It isn't about Obama meeting my needs. It is about Obama doing what is right for all of us, right now, in the world in which we find ourselves (through our own cupidity and dullness, certainly).

Serendipitously, this came across my radar, and I am amused at the thought that a person whose moniker is "Democracy Lover" would counsel despair in an election year. Simply put - and with all due respect - this is the "whoa is me" of one whose favored candidate was given as fair a hearing as our system allows and turned away. If he wants to start his own country and run it by his Platonic rules, that's all well and good. Me, I'm choosing hope, and Obama, for our future.

Virtual Tin Cup

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