Saturday, June 2, 2007

“That’s not who we are.” — Barack Obama

Repeating. "That's not who we are." That was the most memorable moment we came away with from Obama’s campaign fundraiser speech in downtown Seattle yesterday afternoon. It’s a catchy saying that can be applicable in many situations outside of politics. In Obama’s case, he was referring to the stubbornness of the current Administration to maintain the status quo with the continued strategy being applied to Iraq, how the broken health care system has been ignored, the narrow-minded plague that resists our science in matters such as the time sensitivity in taking action with global warming and discoveries through stem cell research. He spoke to a plethora of other issues that the current Administration has left unresolved, broken or ignored in (my opinion) a sea of apathy, disinterest, and a focus on shady backdoor deals as a result of whoring it up with big oil and sectors of corporate America.

He also said: “There’s nothing broken that can’t be fixed.” In his vision of America’s future, Barack Obama sees the country going a different direction (uhhh, I hope so). He sees us leading in the world by example through diplomacy, not through the hasty flexing of military might. He sees a bolstered education system that focuses on the early developmental years of a child. He sees an America that will turn a listening ear to its scientific community for guidance and expertise, and maybe transfer some of those war monies towards the causes and cures they seek—advancements our society so desperately needs.

Obama stated that he recognizes how folks might have lost faith in the American political landscape—and what hope they have left for it. That in mind, I thought he made a good point on our ability to rebound from the horrible track we’re on right now. He figured that if we were able to overcome the shadow of the Cold War—where we all lived under the specter of nuclear annihilation—then we can roll up our sleeves and muster the teamwork to fix a broken health care system. We can end the war in Iraq. We can address global warming through advances in clean fuel technology and make America energy independent, while at the same time essentially creating a new clean energy economic sector—and therefore creating jobs. He covered other subjects and canvassed related details in the same vein.

There were many other angles he covered, the most memorable involving his experience—some of which harkened back to his days where he was a community organizer on Chicago’s south side. He made the comment that the 3.5 years in that capacity and setting was the most educational of his life. Having gone through a parallel work experience myself, I would concur. I’ve always been of the opinion that Obama’s time in Chicago in the early 1980s is the Rosetta Stone to his success as a politician, and will be at the core of his success as President. It’s rare that we get the opportunity to support a candidate who has successfully navigated through this kind of grassroots experience—by choice. Can any of the other candidates add that to their resumes? I believe those who rip Obama for his alleged lack of experience simply haven’t done their homework. I don’t think you can appreciate what that kind of experience means if you haven’t been close to a situation like that—and knowing through my own personal experience what something like that amounts to, I can see how it would be an incredible tool for a President when making decisions in the seat of the Oval Office. With the organizing experience, in addition to the Illinois State Senate and U.S. Senate experience, I fail to see how the "lack of experience argument" is valid or even an issue in the first place. Oh, I almost forgot, this guy is also a professor who taught American politics and history --- and the American Constitution... and hey, maybe he'd actually follow it and not make it up as he goes along.

On that, I think I can go to bed now. Actually it's late, and I've been on busses all day, at political rallies, playing photographer, and putting this all on paper (figuratively).

However... I’m pumped! I’m jazzed! I’m friggin' amped!!! I believe in this man and what he stands for. Hearing him speak, and feeding off his enthusiasm, is a hard thing to describe. I believe we’re in for the unfolding of special events over the next 597 days—as I look at my “Backwards Bush” countdown clock. Obama is the kind of person who shapes the crowd. He believes America can, and should, lead the world rather than follow it. I also believe Barack Obama has the makeup to unite America, help to unite the world, address the issues that are the calling of our times, and help us accomplish the unthinkable. S

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