Wednesday, June 4, 2008


It's been a long time since I felt the kind of hopefulness I felt last night as I watched Barak speak at the Excel Center. (I watched it on TV, had no desire to battle crowds in St. Paul.)

The sense of hope I felt was quite involuntary and unexpected. My hopes and expectations have sunken pretty low in the last twenty years. All I wanted was someone who was not in the thrall of the neo-cons. Someone who wasn't just downright evil. But Barak is so much more than "not Bush."

Part of me is skeptical. They always start out looking so nice. He sure can give a speech.

Part of me is also afraid. He's young, idealistic, and black. Seeing him on the stage with Michelle, it's like the 21st-century version of Camelot. He looks and sounds like a combination of JFK and Martin Luther King. And we know what kind of end they both met...

But all you can do is hope and pray for the best, and do your part to make the best come into being... I'm glad that godawful interminable primary is finally done, and Barak can get down to the business of trouncing McCain.


MoHoHawaii said...

I have similiar feelings. We are lucky that this particular person emerged on the scene.

Now that the campaign for the general election is on, I hope that everyone will pony up with some money. Obama's campaign, unlike any in history, relies on small donations from everyday people. It's up to all of us to make sure he becomes our next president.

J G-W said...

It goes without saying that I would rather have candidates who are dependent on $50 donations from Joe and Jane Schmoe, than on maxed out Haliburton and Exxon contributions. For that reason I definitely plan to send in my donation (or rather, enter it in on the Internet).

Bill McA said...

I suppose it's asking too much to "hope" that y'all would be tolerant of a conservative Republican, even one who sympathizes with the plight of gay Mormons, but I laughed out loud when I heard Obama imply last night that if he's elected the oceans will stop rising.

J G-W said...

No, asking for tolerance of conservative Republicans isn't too much to ask, or even hope for. (Especially one who sympathizes with the plight of gay Mormons!)

I wrote a short essay (which appeared in the latest issue of Sunstone) discussing how my Mormonism influences my political views. Among other things, I expressed my belief that ultimately our faith demands a political order in which we have all things in common, are of one heart, one mind, and are governed by God's law. (In other words, by theocracy.)

Left-leaning folks dig the all-things-in-common, one-heart-one-mind stuff, but don't dig the God's law stuff. Right-leaning (especially religious right-leaning) folks hunger for theocracy but think Zion was dreamed up by a bunch of Communists.

As far as the gay marriage issue is concerned, I can't tell any of the candidates apart -- Republican or Democrat. They all oppose gay marriage. The only difference, far as I can tell, is the rhetoric they use in opposing it.

For me, the decisive issue in this election is the war. It was an unjust, unrighteous war, pre-meditated by the neo-conservative clique, and entered into on the basis of lies presented to the American people as "intelligence." The left saw right through it from the beginning. That's what political opposition parties are supposed to do: criticize and question the party in power, when it looks like it's going too far.

That's why, from the beginning, I've opposed Hillary. Instead of playing the role of loyal opposition, she (and many other so-called Democratic leaders) rolled over and voted for a war she thought she couldn't afford politically to vote against, when she should have said, "Where's the proof about yellow cake uranium?"

I'm frankly skeptical about all political leaders, especially at the national level. That's why I expressed the sentiment (in this post) that Obama sounds nice, but I'm worried. His rhetoric certainly jives with my values. Yes, in fact, we do need to stop the ice caps from melting and the oceans from rising. If we're the cause of that, then we can certainly figure out a way to stop it.

But time and time again, I've seen high flying rhetoric go out the window in the realm of practice.

I admit, Obama could be like JFK in more ways than one... He might be someone who sounds idealistic, but who ends up doing nothing. Part of me fears that politics in this country -- both Democratic and Republican -- is controlled by powerful monied interests that have no interest in peace or poverty or health or the environment. Part of me fears that no matter where you come from or what your values are or which party you belong to, you can't become president without becoming enmeshed in and controlled by systems of power that are, at heart, demonic.

My two, very non-partisan cents.

Knight of Nothing said...

Thank you for your essay. I'm a little nervous about Obama as well, but nevertheless there are a lot of reasons to be encouraged by him.

Did you know that Obama is a member of the ACLU? I read that sometime last year. No other major party presidential candidate that I know of has ever demonstrated his level of commitment to civil liberties in my lifetime. He has an 80% lifetime rating from the ACLU. Not that this is the end-all test, but it certainly is not bad. FYI... Clinton's rating is 60%, and McCain's is 0%.

J G-W said...

Michael Dukakis was "a card-carrying member of the ACLU," something Bush the First attacked him for.

I know nobody remembers Michael Dukakis, the first major party candidate of Greek Orthodox religious persuasion to run for president. But he deserves some cred...

Knight of Nothing said...

I had completely forgotten that! And he was the first presidential candidate I voted for. :-)

J G-W said...

What!? You voted for a card-carrying member of the ACLU??

But in all seriousness... IF Obama is elected president (and as always in politics every if is a big IF), I would love to see his first executive action to be closing down Gitmo and the other American gulags that this administration has erected. I'd also like to see an investigation of U.S.-sponsored torture, with appropriate action against those who have violated (or fostered the violation of) the Geneva Convention and other international agreements.