Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I might like this barack obama

I have lots of reasons to not like obama. but then I read this today. it is long, but definitely worth reading. and he is saying things I just don't hear many people say. he is saying things I wish I had said. things I have thought and felt for a while now, but not been able to articulate.



Matt Churnock said...

I don't want to be cynical but I can't help but feel that I am being spoon fed what I want to hear. Why can't we stand arm in arm, black with white and brown with yellow and look corporate America in the face (because they are obviously the bad guy here) and tell them 'No More'?

I'm the offspring of Polish immigrants, we worked in the coal mine town of Pennsylvania, and I had to pull myself up by my boot straps to get where I am. And Barack understands me and wants to help.

Oh, your black and feel that you just can't get ahead since slavery and the Jim Crow era? Barack understands you too.

Well isn't that special.

I don't know who I will vote for, but Barack scares me. Can I vote for BTM?

The Amy said...

I thought it was totally sincere. He hit a lot of nails on the head and yeah, while campaining in general is a lot of spoon feeding and "we'll only have mountain dew in the vending machines," Obama seems to have a pretty big spoon, but came across in a humble way.
Very interesting read...thanks for sharing.

e* said...

Sometimes we are a lot alike BTM.

I read that speech today by chance, and it was probably the first political speech I've read since... ever? I don't know.

But I was strangely moved by it, and have even been forwarding it around to friends this morning.

I don't think Obama is a savior, or the second coming of JFK, Ronald Reagan, and FDR rolled into one. I don't think he can fix our political problems, and I don't think he has all the answers. I don't even know if he'll get elected.

But I believe in the power of hopefulness and optimism, and I'm encouraged by the honest sincerity of what he has to say. Say what you will about him, and you may be right, but you can't deny that he's willing to say things that other politicians aren't, and he's willing to confront racial issues headon when others aren't (or simply can't, because the national dialogue is so hopelessly, irrevocably f'd up).

He has his shortcomings, but so do the others. What he has, that they don't, is the power to motivate and inspire change with words. That counts for something.

Anyway. I liked it. +2 points to Barack and his speechwriter.

Robert said...

Extremely well written speech!

...and people say you can't get a job with a degree in creative writing?

Under The Mountain said...

VERY impressive speech. He may actually overcome the sting of his pastor's comments with it.

I'm excited to see a prominent Democrat of color approach the race issue this way (i.e., apparently interested in really talking about it and doing something about it, not just in demonizing people like me). I can tell from the way he phrases some issues that I won't like any of his proposals or solutions, but I don't mind if he thinks I'm wrong instead of evil. Hey, I might even BE wrong! I don't think so, or I'd change my positions, but maybe.

george edema said...

Obama rocked it big time, a masterful speech.

Here is an interesting article in the WSJ.

Liz said...

I liked this, "But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality."

shawn avery said...

i've been passing it around all day. i can't believe he is being so honest... and obvious... but sometimes you have to state the obvious. hopefully this will help ease the blow of his pastor's statements.

to echo matt's post... i agree that he is trying to be acutely sensitive and cover "all the bases" and demographics.

that makes his a natural born politician... which is really all the president is.

Spitball said...

Everything in that speech was right on and reasoned and it was good to hear someone in a leadership position say it. I would probably have some admiration for Obama for giving that speech if he hadn't been forced into it by the Jeremiah Wright situation. The speech would never have been out of context at any other time during his campaign for the presidency. Thus, the speech becomes little more than a political tool, sadly.

BrentR said...

I'll second Under the Mountain and say that he's got the root of the problem right (corporate American culture), probably has the right solutions with respect to race (don't ignore them), but has the wrong solutions with respect to govenrment (give out more "free" stuff and everything gets better).

Three flaws I find in his "Hope":
-A more caring America. Perhaps we could use some more caring Americans, but America, as in government, is not in the business of caring, nor can it be, nor should it be.
-"unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people." I have no such faith. I don't have that sort of faith in myself.
-"a belief that society can change." I believe that society can BE changed. But it doesn't just up and change. I'll turn physicist on you and say that for me or society to up and get better defies the fundamental laws of physics...things, left to themselves, trend towards more disorder and less energy...UNLESS, they are acted upon by an outside force. I will agree, though, that outside forces don't come about by just sitting around waiting for them to happen.

Brian T. Murphy said...

Matt – Corporate America? What? Yes, matt, you can vote for me.

The amy – yeah I’m with you. and when I ran for president in high school I totally addressed the mountain dew issue. I said I wasn’t going to do anything about that, but I reminded the student population about my removable front tooth. I think I won by a landslide.

E – I know. I don’t think I’ve ever read a political speech before. Can’t remember the last one I read. And as much as I resist all the talk about hope and change, what he says here sort of makes me believe in it, if only for a moment.

Robert – I never said that.

Under – was the sting of wrights comments really that big of a thing to overcome? And I agree – you definitely might be wrong.

George – I agree. And nice link to the WSJ. I read that article. Very interesting.

Liz – I know! And who else is saying anything like that? I can’t really think of anybody.

Shawn – I agree. I definitely am not saying that I worship obama now, or that I think he is likely to actually be a good president, or really, that I am starting to actually care about the president of the united states, but what I am saying I what you’ve said – just can’t believe how honest and obvious and open he was with this speech.

Spitball – point taken.

Brentr – I tend to think that presidents, governors, mayors, CEOs, all those types tend to make bold, glossy, visionary statements that make people feel good. The flaws you mention seem to fall in this category. I don’t know. I think I grant some liberty for this with a presidential politician. A person who talks realistically, like you do here, could never be elected.

shawn avery said...

JOHN McCAIN for President -


Spitball said...

...and, Brian, when you're ready to start selling photographic prints, I'm good for the road/landscape shot that's on your masthead now.

Under The Mountain said...

Well at first I didn't think the Pastor Wright stuff would hurt Obama. I wasn't really very surprised to hear what Wright said; I figured that was about what I would expect him to say. (That doesn't mean I'm OK with it; just that it's about what I expected.) The stuff about the US government causing AIDS was a little beyond the pale, but otherwise what he said wasn't very shocking. So, I didn't think most Obama supporters would be shocked either.

THAT'S WHERE I WAS WRONG, EVIDENTLY. His slippage in the polls and the perceived need for him to give that speech indicate that a lot of people WERE surprised by what his pastor said. And with the neck-and-neck race on with Hillary, any big hit like this is a real "sting" to be overcome. And I think he's nearly done it, and may do so by the time it's over.

In a way, he's in a better place now than before -- he denounced the crazy comments and dimissed the pastor from his advisory committee (so his opponents can't criticize him for not doing those things), AND he gave a brilliant, heartfelt, honest speech on race that even BTM liked! He's made lemonade out of a lemon. Or something healthy and happy out of "toxomium", which is my word verification for this post.

George said...

UTM, there was a time when I would have been surprised by Wright's comments. But thankfully I am a little more aware of the black community than I was before and instead, like you, I am somewhat surprised by the reaction and the sustained aggression against him. Wright's comments are way wrong in my opinion, and he is causing harm by saying and preaching what he says. But I believe he really thinks those things and is truly upset about America. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to some degree. He may be way off base, but going nuts over him and the Black Liberation Church doesn't get us any closer to understanding the deeply ingrained anger it comes from or any closer to establishing a positive and fruitful relationship with those in that church.

It seems unfair for whites to be both surprised by Wright and so forcefully judgmental and dismissive of him. You can't be both. To be surprised means you have no understanding of the black church, so to box them up based on some isolated clips is unjust. Surprised and concerned? yes. Surprised and confused? yes. Surprised and confident in your judgment? ignorantly arrogant.

Brian T. Murphy said...

shawn - is that something he said?

spitball - I am SO bad at making prints. I just never get around to it. but if I ever do, I'll print that one up. it's yours.

UTM and George - you both said great things and I really enjoyed reading your comments but I just don't really have anything to add.

George said...

here is an interesting interview that offers some clarity, imo.

Natalie_S said...

Obama is Hilary's whipping boy, so we can pretend like there's an actual race for the presidency. If I actually make it to the polls this year it will be for the priviledge of writing Dr. Paul's name in so for once I can say I actually voted for a man I thought would be a good president.

Corporate America ain't pretty though. Please Mr. Bernanke and Co, I want my fricken free markets back. Thank you.

Hey said...

Fortunately the white house has a bowling alley 'cause Obama needs the practice. Check the article - it says he bowled a 37!! Can I really vote for someone who only bowls a 37 ??!?!