Friday, July 11, 2008

All about Obama

When I read that Canadians prefer Obama to their own PM, I couldn't help thinking about what made Obama so appealing. The pessimistic types have noted that the topic of change has been touted in many a presidential campaign and almost none of them brought about this touted change. Nevertheless, Obama has much more than the potential for change. Although he is not perfect, his broad view of humankind and his passion to see in human terms, past race and religion, reveals the depth of prejudice and racism in the world. First, he was not black enough, didn't have a slave's ancestry and then he's not Christian enough. The public's reaction to these views starts with astonishment at the inherent irony and ends with action. On the first issue the dust has settled and most refer to him as a black candidate. I believe that is so, because Obama, if he did take offense, didn't react and didn't seem to feel compelled to assert his blackness; rather, he saw human beings with black skin, some descended from slaves, others not. Surprisingly, his paradigm of the common thread among human beings has been interpreted as superciliousness. (Jackson's vulgar remark, "I want to cut his nuts out," relates much more than a benign concern for the treatment of blacks: "a little jealous you didn't get this far?").

The second issue clearly is a non-issue: so what if his father was a Muslim? When I watched the interview of his half-sister, I couldn't believe she had to downplay her Muslim faith as well as her father's. What does the "controversy" around his background reveal about America? Obama's like a magnifying mirror bringing attention to the ugly spots. Can there really be so much bigotry? I guess so, since so many are adopting Hussein as a middle name. I like the reaction, but am dumbfounded it's necessary; I guess people really do see bin Laden when they look at an immigrant. Speaking of comedy, why is Stewart's Indecision 5768 removed from so many sites? Speaking of Israel, here's a virtual tour of Israel's atomic weapons facility based on photos taken by hidden camera; Mearsheimer and Walt held a forum in Tel Aviv, and here's an account.

So Obama is great and causes us to question the status quo, but what can one man do? Everything. Travel back to 1962 and consider how we got out of the Crisis (this site has actual clips of some of the meetings); it was Kennedy (and his brother). Just imagine if Bush was in power then. Obama, like Kennedy, has the character and intelligence to avert another world crisis. Support Obama.

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