Tuesday, February 05, 2008

please make this tuesday so very very super



Note: I edited this baby to add a long response to a comment from a regular reader.
All right. Back to the post.

I want this so much. It's a joy to watch and listen to him speak. (And Michelle! Damn! She's unbelievable.) It's a joy to read his books. It's a joy to read about his policies. It's a joy to hear the phrase "Obama Republicans". It's a joy to hear about the 12-year-old precinct captain for Obama in Colorado. It's a joy to see the crowds who look like they're feeling what I'm feeling.

Watched Obama in Boston what when you read this will be last night on C-Span. Stirred as usual, but particularly gratified to hear him towards the end of his speech answer the charges about hope being a naive thing, about hope somehow being equatable with wishful thinking and passivity. He launched into some blazing description of some of the best and bloodiest fights for justice in history, from the abolition of slavery to World War II to the civil rights battles of the 60's, and how those bright, stark, painful, right images - those were hope. (I'm paraphrasing, naturally.)

He's no fool and he's no pushover.

I read Michael Chabon's article ("Obama vs. the Phobocracy") about him in the Washington Post, describing him as radiant and humane. I loved that. I loved seeing Bill Maher on (crazy purple-attired!) Larry (so purple) King (the purplest goddamn outfit I ever saw!) (whatever you're thinking? WAY PURPLER) speaking so respectfully and hopefully about Barack Obama. He's no starry-eyed kitten, and he appears to be feeling it, too.

I hope you vote/caucus/whatever's going on in your neighborhood. I really hope you support Obama.

P.S. My fine reader, B, asked in the comments why I support Obama over Hillary. My response ended up so long that I thought I might as well post it here, too, in case you're interested.

************

B - You're a good one. I like how you roll, mama. So let me answer your question! I do like Hillary, let me say that right off. And I find a lot of their policy differences to be fairly minor. In a perfect world, I prefer Hillary's health care plan. On the other hand, I'm more drawn to Obama's foreign policy approach - it seems smart to me to be open to talks with both allies and current "enemies".My biggest reasons for supporting Obama are twofold. Or threefold! We'll see:

1. The most important thing? He actually moves me. He moves me to think and participate. I feel the old apathy just burning right out of me. And the fact that this is happening all over the country tells me that Obama provides the country a chance to heal from these horrible last few years in a way that Hillary just can't do. Her policy and command of issues may be totally spot on - which isn't to say that Obama's aren't - but she doesn't persuade and inspire people to think differently in the sort of deep ways that can fundamentally change the direction the country is going. There's a real movement happpening with Obama, something gorgeous and positive. It'd be a shame to waste it!

2. I think he's more competitive in the general election. Nobody mobilizes the GOP base like Hillary, and no time is that more the case than this year. The Republicans don't have a positive rallying candidate this year, and I'd hate for Hillary to be that candidate for them in reverse. That, and there are a whole lot of Independents and Republicans who just really like the guy and would be happy to vote for him. Those same folks aren't Hillary's voters. I think Obama would be able to pick up any of Hillary's voters. I think the reverse is unfortunately not the case. I want to say also that most of the vitriol directed at Hillary is ridiculous. But the closer I look at her, the less inspired I am, I'm afraid to say. I've been reading their books - both HRC's Living History and Carl Bernstein's biography of her (A Woman in Charge), and Obama's The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from my Father. Finished The A of H, am juggling the rest concurrently. My impressions so far are that Obama really hangs it out there from the bottom of his soul. He's not afraid to reveal himself and be truthful. This makes me trust his promise for transparency in his administration. HRC, on the other hand, is more guarded and careful and choreographed, and it gives me a feeling of mistrust - especially when I compare what I'm reading in Living History to what I'm reading in Bernstein's book. There is a lot of information from Bill Clinton's administration regarding Hillary's participation that they won't release, and I don't like that. Makes me jumpy. Also, Obama's an elegant writer, which tells me he's an elegant thinker. Hillary's smart as a whip, to be sure, but doesn't strike me as an inspired thinker. She seems to be very left-brained, while I think Obama seems to be engaged on both sides. The right brain's gifts to politics shouldn't be diminished! Creativity is a giant factor in problem solving. Obama's also funnier, which goes back to the right brain thing, which goes again right to thinking outside of the proverbially worn-to-pieces box.

3. Phew! Finally, I think Obama, without lifting a finger, would send a powerful message to the rest of the world. He's less hawkish, more open, more flexible - but not remotely wimpy. He embodies that "walk softly and carry a big stick" thing beautifully. He's got the personal power to do it. And I love the idea that brown-skinned youths all over the globe who could be swayed by dangerous anti-American sentiment would be able to look at our White House and see someone who reminds them a little bit of themselves. It automatically encourages thinking twice about their assumptions about America. I'd love for people around the world to look at our president and not just feel like, "Okay, that's better than George Bush," but to be truly fascinated and excited about the person we put in office. I'm looking forward to traveling the world again and not being greeted with a Hello, NEWman kind of vibe the minute I open my mouth.

One final thing - I'm adding this to the comment I left in the comments section - and it's this: I think it's a real possibility that if Hillary does beat McCain, which doesn't seem like a foregone conclusion to me, then it's possible that a big turnout of GOP voters could either swing the balance of power in the Senate back to the Republicans or keep it hanging to the Dems with a small margin, making it difficult for her to get her legislation through. Also, there are a lot of folks in Washington that have a lot of grievances with Hillary, and I think she would have a built-in sort of uphill...swim...upstream swim...uphill climb that Obama wouldn't have.

Oh, man. That's more than you bargained for, maybe! I could go on, but I'll let it lie here for now. Thanks for asking, B. I really appreciate it.And hey, if they run together, I'll be delighted. I'll vote for Hillary if she's the nominee, but if it's Obama, I'm going to be jumping for joy. As you may have guessed!

6 comments:

Kris McN said...

I feel you. I'm with you. I'm there! (If only Oregon's primary was before May fucking 20th)

B. said...

I'm leaning toward Hillary, but it's fun to read about your excitement!

Why Obama over Hillary? Any particular policy differences? I'm excited because I think they're going to run together.

Tina Rowley said...

Kris - !! !

B - You're a good one. I like how you roll, mama. So let me answer your question!

I do like Hillary, let me say that right off. And I find a lot of their policy differences to be fairly minor. In a perfect world, I prefer Hillary's health care plan. On the other hand, I'm more drawn to Obama's foreign policy approach - it seems smart to me to be open to talks with both allies and current "enemies".

My biggest reasons for supporting Obama are twofold. Or threefold! We'll see:

1. The most important thing? He actually moves me. He moves me to think and participate. I feel the old apathy just burning right out of me. And the fact that this is happening all over the country tells me that Obama provides the country a chance to heal from these horrible last few years in a way that Hillary just can't do. Her policy and command of issues may be totally spot on - which isn't to say that Obama's aren't - but she doesn't persuade and inspire people to think differently in the sort of deep ways that can fundamentally change the direction the country is going. There's a real movement happpening with Obama, something gorgeous and positive. It'd be a shame to waste it!

2. I think he's more competitive in the general election. Nobody mobilizes the GOP base like Hillary, and no time is that more the case than this year. The Republicans don't have a positive rallying candidate this year, and I'd hate for Hillary to be that candidate for them in reverse. That, and there are a whole lot of Independents and Republicans who just really like the guy and would be happy to vote for him. Those same folks aren't Hillary's voters. I think Obama would be able to pick up any of Hillary's voters. I think the reverse is unfortunately not the case. I want to say also that most of the vitriol directed at Hillary is ridiculous. But the closer I look at her, the less inspired I am, I'm afraid to say. I've been reading their books - both HRC's Living History and Carl Bernstein's biography of her, and Obama's The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from my Father. Finished the A of H, am juggling the rest concurrently. My impressions so far are that Obama really hangs it out there from the bottom of his soul. He's not afraid to reveal himself and be truthful. This makes me trust his promise for transparency in his administration. HRC, on the other hand, is more guarded and careful and choreographed, and it gives me a feeling of mistrust - especially when I compare what I'm reading in Living History to what I'm reading in Bernstein's book. There is a lot of information from Bill Clinton's administration regarding Hillary's participation that they won't release, and I don't like that. Makes me jumpy. Also, Obama's an elegant writer, which tells me he's an elegant thinker. Hillary's smart as a whip, to be sure, but doesn't strike me as an inspired thinker. She seems to be very left-brained, while I think Obama seems to be engaged on both sides. The right brain's gifts to politics shouldn't be diminished! Creativity is a giant factor in problem solving. Obama's also funnier, which goes back to the right brain thing, which goes again right to thinking outside of the proverbially worn-to-pieces box.

3. Phew! Finally, I think Obama, without lifting a finger, would send a powerful message to the rest of the world. He's less hawkish, more open, more flexible - but not remotely wimpy. He embodies that "walk softly and carry a big stick" thing beautifully. He's got the personal power to do it. And I love the idea that brown-skinned youths all over the globe who could be swayed by dangerous anti-American sentiment would be able to look at our White House and see someone who reminds them a little bit of themselves. It automatically encourages thinking twice about their assumptions about America. I'd love for people around the world to look at our president and not just feel like, "Okay, that's better than George Bush," but to be truly fascinated and excited about the person we put in office. I'm looking forward to traveling the world again and not being greeted with a Hello, NEWman kind of vibe the minute I open my mouth.

Oh, man. That's more than you bargained for, maybe! Thanks for asking, B. I really appreciate it.
And hey, if they run together, I'll be delighted. I'll vote for Hillary if she's the nominee, but if it's Obama, I'm going to be jumping for joy.

Kris McN said...

Everything you said, especially about electability, extra plus! If she's the nominee, I will vote for her, but that's because I'm a Yellow Dog Democrat and would NEVER vote for any of the current Republican candidates. I'm not FOR her, I'm agin THEM. She leaves me cold, and suspicious. Suspicious that every move she makes is political, calculated. I was gonna list it out, but Fareed Zakaria pretty much said it all for me here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/107578

I REALLY want to be able to vote for Obama! I hope I get that chance!

Bunk said...

If John F. Kennedy were alive and running on the Democrat ticket today I'd vote for him, but I'll never stoop so low as to vote for socialism. Just sayin'.

Certainlia said...

Tina,

Wowee, I loved this. Loved it. You so perfectly articulated everything I'm feeling right now. It's interesting...I had this real back and forth struggle, all the way to the polls yesterday. Literally, I was deciding ON OUR WALK to the voting place. I think in my heart I knew I was going to go for Obama, but I was having this tug about Hilary, mainly because she's a woman, and also, weirdly, I think she has some kind of maternal hold on me. Though she's not the most maternal figure in the world...

But so, I really wanted to want her more, you know. But I just could not help knowing that Obama had my heart in a way she never could.

So, I got all the way in the polling booth. Literally, behind the literal purple curtain, and people are waiting for me, and I'm just staring at their two names, knowing I have to make a decision. And I look at the little tag to the left that says "President", and I looked at both their names again; first at Hilary Clinton: For. President. And my reaction was, "Huh. Nice." and then I looked at Barack Obama: For. President. And my heart just lept. I suddenly understood what it would mean, if he really did it. If it really happened. I think part of me just wasn't letting myself feel the real possibility of it, but as soon as I did, it was such a no-brainer.

Paul and I were talking about it afterwards (he's been for Obama for a while) and I said to him that with Obama, I feel really implicated, really engaged as a member of the country. I feel like he's going to ask me to take responsibility and be a member of the national community, maybe not literally, but in a spiritual energetic way. With Hilary, it feels as though it would be hands off. She would clearly be "the President" and we would be as distanced from her and her cabinet as we have always been.

I guess that goes towards the whole "transparency" thing with Obama.

But, oh, isn't it all so exciting!

Hooray for new hope!