My kids were the first people to convince me to stay involved (however peripherally) in the election. My youngest in particular is SUPER SUPER excited about Barack Obama. SUPER excited. Excitement is contagious.
I originally was going to vote for Dennis Kucinich in the primary, before he dropped out to concentrate on his congressional race, after which I decided to support John Edwards. Now that Edwards has dropped out I am firmly in the Obama camp.
This morning I read this article by guest blogger Naamen Gobert Tilahun at Angry Black Woman and I was struck by it. The "race" issue is why I have felt hesitant about saying I was gonna vote for Barack Obama.
It’s because I’m black.
See when I admit that I support Obama, people (mostly white) get this look on their face and that’s the end the conversation. They don’t ask why, they don’t start a dialogue, there’s just this look. The look is very much like a slap in the face. What the look says is “Ah, I knew you would”, “Of Course.”, “Well, I’m not surprised.”. The look rests on the assumption that as a black man of course I would be voting for the black man. It’s a racist assumption that insults not only myself but Obama as well. When we deconstruct the look there are two main attacks that are happening here.
Number one they are assuming that Obama has nothing to offer except being a black man, they are assuming that none of his politics matter that his only viability as a candidate stems from his race.
It's really worth a read.
Yesterday over at Racilious, various contributors gave their reasons for supporting Barack Obama. Some highlights:
Does Obama appeal to me because he’s multiracial, like myself? Because many of his relatives are Asian? Because in living abroad, he’s had the same international Third Culture Kid (TCK) experiences as me? In part, yes.
But what really excites me about Obama is that he is completely in touch with how race in America is lived in 2008. He understands that race is not just about who’s black and who’s white, or who’s a victim and who’s an oppressor. He’s fearless about addressing institutional racism, but is absolutely uninterested in playing oppression olympics. His message is one of hope and change, yet he doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of racism or insist on engaging in meaningless celebrations of diversity. He proudly identifies as a black man, yet is committed to bringing together people of all races.
Barack voted against the War in Iraq at a time when a substantial portion of America was convinced that going to war was the right thing to do. I greatly respect a leader who can see through the clouds of illusion that politics often create. And when it comes to foreign affairs in the Middle East, there is no better time than now to be incredibly diplomatic and make decisions with our country’s best interests in mind. Bombing additional countries won’t help the damage we’ve already done, nor will building additional military bases (which, as demonstrated in South Korea and Okinawa, can often lead to more problems with regard to security for the host nation’s citizens than before).
He is willing to radically depart from the politics of fear that various people have used to justify the need for military might and instead work toward global community and understanding.
All of the people I've heard talking about why they are voting for Hillary Clinton are white women of a certain age [ETA: I can't believe I played the Race, Gender and Age cards here, I'm embarrassed]. I've listened to a fair amount of "progressive" or lefty radio the past two days. What I've heard is these women talking down to the strawman/Obama supporters, talking about how the young aren't the people we need giving us [older folks] advice about who to vote for, and how the message of "Hope" is somehow empty. REALLY? Thanks, but no thanks. Hearing crap like that will make it really hard to support Sen. Clinton if she indeed takes the nomination. I really don't want to grit my teeth and vote for another uninspiring candidate.
Sen. Obama is far from perfect. Face it, anyone who wants to be president has to have something wrong with them. But he's become my candidate. Because of the many opportunities this race presents me with getting really mad, I'll no doubt be posting here about this. It should be, at the least, an interesting year.