I am a cynic. Skepticism is so deeply entrenched within my psyche I think it might be genetic. This combined with the fact that too often political candidates proposed in this supposed “democratic” process are so slimy and distasteful that casting your vote is more akin to picking your slave master than making a choice for social progress. Somehow the fact that there exist this thinly veiled “choice” is supposed to empower us, but at the end of the day a slave master is as a slave master does… regardless if one brings you a glass of lemonade in the July heat. …I digress. The point is, that I stay a pretty jaded about the whole process and have never been moved by any of it. Until Barack Obama that is….
On this Super Tuesday morning, I sit in a dark cold room fighting the unwelcome warm swell of hope growing in my chest. I am comfortable in my snarky cynical political position. For me to be inspired and have hope for the progress of the U.S. leaves me vulnerable in a way that I am not comfortable with. You see, I had to travel the world a couple times over in order to find out how American I really am. A realization that invited a flood of pride simultaneously dammed and crippled with shame and guilt. America hasn’t stood for much that I am proud of since I became of age to take notice of what it was standing for at all. So how is it that this man who seemingly came out of nowhere when he showed up to the DNC in 2004 is able to evoke this soul stirring sense of possibility and national transformation in people of all ages, races, creeds? That part I am still slightly unsure of.
There are plenty of reasons why at first sight Hilary Clinton seems like the more logical choice for the Democratic ticket. She has been patient and paid her dues (whatever that means), and has followed all of the traditional rules for taking the proper pathway to the Whitehouse. In the traditional sense it should be no contest between the two. ….and yet it isn’t so simple. While I could spout off all the reasons related to position, votes in the senate, and proposed policies as to why Barrack is the better candidate in my eyes, the real truth is that even in their differences (e.g. both of their abysmal fairytale healthcare proposals) the candidates are more similar than they would ever claim.
Even with their distinct differences in mind, I wouldn’t be fully truthful if I was to say that hard lined “issues” are what brought me to the Obama side. The real truth of the matter is that I have finally succumb to the gravitational pull Obama has had on me and a great number of the other politically downtrodden. I have read his books, listened to his speeches and I was struck by Barack the man, long before his run for the Whitehouse. I have often thought that you don’t pick a President based on personality, or likability because that has very little to do with what they will actually do in office. Seems like that is what got us into the past 7 years of “Dubbayah” nonsense. Good ole Bush Jr had followed the rules on paper and had a general likability about him that made people dismiss the fact that he was actually a bumbling idiot with no more leadership skills than a cardboard cut-out of Batman. I am not now nor will I ever be big on liking political leaders. Congeniality is not high on my list of Presidential considerations. However integrity is, and after 8 years of being bent over and Bushwacked by quite possibly the most small minded, violent, ignorant, treasonous President the US has ever seen I ache for a leader who is not only thoughtful and pensive, but sincere. For me this is where Barack comes in.
While Hillary Clinton is a respectable candidate she wears her experience on her sleeve as if it will assure her victory. If we are calling being a cog in a broken wheel of Congress for 4 additional years experience then what exactly does that have to do with leadership? This obsessive spin on experience has started to feel like another divisive strategy to divert attention away from true leadership qualities such as intelligence, courage, fairness, judgment, temperament, humbleness, and integrity. Whether or not she actually has more “experience” than Obama is a highly debatable yet undebated topic, but if one thing has become clear in the past weeks it’s that she has much more experience in the playing the political game. Oddly enough, it is that same experience that makes it hard for her to compete with Obama’s shine. Too many years, and too many battles have glazed her over with the luster of pandering insincerity that we have come to expect out of politicians. However, contrasted up against the infectious shiny new penny zeal of Barack Obama I know I have found myself confronted and embarrassed with my low expectations of political representatives.
Obama has been criticized for being too idealistic and naïve, his campaign even called a “fairytale” by Bill Clinton and at times I’ve wondered that myself, but somewhere along the way my heart would rather take a chance on someone who is idealistic in their belief that change can and must happen than someone who represents a different head of the same side of politics that we’ve seen before. Without anyone presenting an alternative in my lifetime at least, it has been perfectly acceptable for a politician to be a master manipulator at the politics as usual game, poised to continue the tradition of seeking office solely for the power of pushing through their myopic agenda. …. until someone presented themselves as a true alternative.
Mind you that I am not blinded by Obama. I don’t think he is the second coming Christ, Ghandi re-incarnated, or the Martin Luther King of 2008. I think that many peoples expectations of what he will really be able to achieve in office are unreasonable and a bit naive. Certain positions he has taken I sorely disagree with but we agree more often than not so I stand on the side of Barack Obama knowing full well that he may not yet be ready for presidency and that maybe all the hope and inspirational mucky muck he spits is just perfected political spin, but you take that chance with any candidate and today I am taking that chance with him. So tonight when I stand in line and caucus I will be standing across the room in opposition to friends and family members whose opinions I respect and admire while I lean on the warm spot of insistent inspiration growing in my chest. Barack Obama has managed to give me, the jaded midwestern gal with a cynical hesitant allegiance towards this here amerikkka hope that maybe all isn’t lost. If Hillary could light a fire in people close to that, this wouldn’t even be a competition. But she can’t. So in the infamous words of L-boogie I say to Hillary Clinton and all of her “experience” “Come on baby light my fire…. Everything you drop is so tired….”