Posts tagged ‘United States’


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Barack Obama was elected president of the United States of America last night.


The most emotional part of the evening was seeing this image on The Huffington Post saying “We HAVE overcome.” That is the epitome of hope. This is not a perfect nation by any regard. We were oppressed by an imperial force, we underwent a great civil war, we struggled with extending the right to vote to large segments of our population. But as Obama taught us all earlier this year, we are striving for a more perfect union.

And last night, I think this union became just a little more perfect.

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I VotedI waited in line for one and a half hours this morning, but I finally cast my ballot for Barack Obama. Now it’s a matter of time to see if the rest of America follows suit.

While waiting in line, I was thinking about why I was about to vote for Obama. I’ve heard a recurring refrain from everyone I talked to who has voiced skepticism about him and his campaign: He’s good at delivering speeches. I’ve wondered whether I was merely being swayed by “fancy speeches”, by mere emotion rather than rationality. Standing queued up in that hot room, I thought about tax plans, health care proposals, energy policies, foreign policies, the Iraq war. I then thought about patriotism and history. It was a long wait mind you.

But I think what was most emblematic of this election was last night on television. Here in Virginia, which is hotly contested, we have been getting bombarded by both campaigns especially with TV ads. Even though Obama’s been outspending McCain here with like 30 commercials to every one of his, last night there was a virtual blitz with both campaigns blanketing the airwaves. And I noticed a stark difference between the two campaigns in those commercials. In the McCain ads, you had grainy recordings of Biden saying we’ll be “tested” with Obama as president, or questions about going under the knife with someone who had never done surgery before. In the Obama ads, you had Obama himself talking about his tax plan or about his background. While one campaign was running on fear, the other was running on hope. (I’m generalizing, but you get the point)

And I think that’s why I’m voting Obama in this election. I’m tired of fear. I’m tired of leaders that want to make us afraid of the world, that want us to believe they have all the answers. I don’t think Obama has all the answers. I don’t think he’s the Messiah. But he espouses what I believe about this country, that we can rise above our differences, that patriotism takes on many forms, that the American people don’t want to be told to shut up and go to the mall.

So I decided to vote for hope over fear. Whether that’s emotional or rational, THAT I really can’t decide.

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Surely, we’ve all read stories like this New York Times article about the Weimar-like rage in this country about the election. Suffice it to say, there are people out there that are very passionate about the outcome of this election and with good reason. Not in my lifetime have the differences been so stark, have the stakes been so high. And not in my lifetime have I seen a candidate with so much potential.

His being African-American notwithstanding, Barack Obama came out from being a nonentity at the 2000 DNC to being the keynote speaker in 2004. He went on to defeat the Hillary machine, to whome EVERYONE pretty much handed the nomination in 2007. He’s run a very impressive campaign against John McCain that has attempted to lift politics in this country rather than drag it through the gutter.

But of course we can’t ignore the fact that he’s African-American. I used to debate with friends on the question of what will we have first? An African-American president or a woman president. Hands down, I said we would have a woman president. For one, there are many great woman leaders in this country already. Secondly, women are hella organized. Third, race is still an issue in this country. I hate to say it, but America has a long way to go from being a city on a hill when it comes to race. And the recent McCain-Palin rallies have shown it.

People are shouting “terrorist” and “kill him” in reference to Obama. People are saying they would never vote for a n—. Others are calling him an Arab. And all these people are intent on believing that he’s a Muslim, will make the national religion Muslim, and turn us all gay. I never thought that any election in the United States would get this ugly. If Obama were to win this election, after January 20th, some of what these people are saying would be considered a federal offense.

Believe me when I say that there is passion on both sides of this election. It looks like there are plenty of people ready to riot if McCain loses. If Obama were to lose the election, I’m sure there would be Obama supporters that would riot. The question is: Who has more guns?

UPDATE: And just after posting this, I read this article about how those other Gods will starting thinking their bigger than us. Run! It’s metaphysical invasion!

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Okay, so I was a little depressed last week with thoughts that Iowa was a fluke and that Obama’s ascendancy was a mere “fairy tale” so to speak. But his win in South Carolina has set my earlier trepidation aside. Let’s not have any illusions about this: the Clinton camp had ceded the primary to him. Certainly, poll numbers must have showed him winning. The story is not that we won though. It’s that he won by a substantial margin, that his support across racial lines is growing.

What really depressed me last week was that lurking behind this hope that Obama could rise above race in this election were notions that people weren’t ready to vote for a black candidate. Obama’s poll numbers in New Hampshire were staggering, yet he lost. Was it because people there were willing to state publicly that they would support a black candidate but that in private they would vote otherwise? Is America not ready for that kind of change? Are people here still THAT racist???

But South Carolina answered no. South Carolina said, “Yes, we can change.” And I felt it. I felt the hope returning to me. I felt like “a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too”.

And on the night of the primary, I was riding high when the first person to get on the airways was…President Clinton??? Give me a break! And he delivers a snarky, half-ass concession speech talking about HIS achievements. That’s when I realized it really IS Billary. It’s two for the price of one again. Only this is a bargain I’m not falling for again.

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Chris Matthews was right. The “Establishment” always wins in the end. On caucus night in Iowa, after Obama’s stunning victory over Clinton and Edwards, everyone was talking about an Obama Presidency and how the face of politics has changed. Except, of course, Chris Matthews who pointed out however interesting it was that history shows that the “Establishment” candidates tough it out and win in the end. With a win in New Hampshire and Nevada under her belt, it may be too late to stop the Clintonites now. I’m having flashbacks of 2004 where Kerry practically landslid into the nomination. I see the same thing happening again. It makes my cynical.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney’s campaign is starting to gain traction with a 3rd victory. The South Park guys put it eloquently. What we may see in the general election is a contest between Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton: two people that a majority of the American people can’t stand. Two people that voters have come out in huge numbers to vote against. Two people that represent what big money and Establishment credentials get you. Basically, it’ll be a vote between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich.

And all of this makes me cynical. It’s not about fancy words and high hopes. It’s not about those lofty words we keep hearing about: change and experience. It’s about believing that this time it can be different, that the cynics aren’t always right, that we can leap forward on a miracle. But maybe those are all just fancy, make-believe ideas for a fancy, make-believe world. So if Chris Matthews is right, if the cynics are right, then who knows what November will have in store for us. As for me, it’s a tossup between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich. And that makes me cynical.

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