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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

are you racist or sexist?

I agree with your point about him being experienced enough to know his shit, but not so 'experienced' that he's jaded and cynical. In fact, one of the things that struck me most about the speech is how much faith he put in the American public. He gives us way more credit than I ever would. As Jon Stewart said, "he's actually speaking to us as though we're adults!" When you see the media go into a feeding frenzy with the Wright stuff, and then the poll numbers start to falter accordingly you almost have to say "well here we go again. we're going to fuck this up again because we can't keep our eye on the ball. we're sucked into these childish distractions, and nothing's going to change." So I was hoping that Obama would pull a rabbit out of a hat to somehow make everyone change the subject and to control the damage. But instead he used the opportunity as a teachable moment. To appeal to our better selves. To show us some hard truths about ourselves, but not in a judging way. Kind of like when a psychologist points out the consequences of your negative behaviors or thought patterns and basically says "so how's that working out for you?" In other words, not condemning the behavior but just pointing out that it's getting in the way of achieving happiness. In the same way Obama points out that these battles are getting in the way of where we need to go.
But my point is to even make that argument requires a belief that people can change and that Americans can finally rise above these petty battles that paralyze our country. And I think is the true meaning of the word "hope" as Obama uses the word. It's breathtakingly optimistic. Is it naive? Perhaps. Or perhaps we're all just so cynical and jaded that we're getting the way of our own progress. But certainly Obama is not glossing over the problems of our country. Most of his speech talked about the bitterness that has accumulated on both sides of the racial divide in our country. So it's certainly not naive in that sense.
I noticed that for the first time Clinton is now polling better against McCain than Obama. But I honestly think if Obama wins the nomination he's going to win the general. Because Americans are at heart optimistic people. That's part of what got us into trouble because people thought of Bush as "can-do" while and the Democrats we're negative and always talking about our problems. Obama also talks about our problems, but his sincere belief that we can overcome them really shines through. I think Hillary is more cynical, and after how they were treated how can you blame her? Perhaps she's right have that worldview, but I believe if our country is to meet the incredible challenges facing us (economy, environment, security, etc.) it's going to require a real transformation in our public discourse and in the way Americans approach the world. Obama actually brings hope that something like that is at least possible.

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