Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Post-Election Wrap Part III

And now, some thoughts on Mr. Obama.

First of all, let me quickly move through the whole 'first Black president' thing. I feel like a bunch of us are patting ourselves on the back, busting with pride because 'look what we did' over here. Hmmm. Of course it's a milestone, for him and the country, but truthfully, when you look into the details of how all that happened, it isn't the exponential leap for mankind that some would purport. Lots and lots of people voted for him (and against him) based on race, and that's really the truth. So while most of his supporters would like to beat the drum of 'transcending race' with this candidate, we really didn't. The racial aspect drove certain behaviors that resulted in his election -- 98% of Blacks voted for him (which alone wouldn't get him elected), but add that to an adequate percentage of Whites who voted for him because he is not George W. Bush, and that definitely provided enough votes to put him in office.

Another thing -- and something no one seems to want to talk about -- Obama is as much White as he is Black, and perhaps a bit more. It appears that the only Black influence on him may have been in the form of sperm, since he is the product of a Black father who did not hang around for long and a White mother who was a bit of a free spirit, disappearing from time to time, while his White grandparents raised him (mostly). Obama does not share the typical Black experience in America -- he grew up mostly in Hawaii, not an inner-city ghetto; he attended prestigious schools (Columbia, Harvard, etc.). So while we can talk about the color of his skin, neither his DNA nor his life experience even remotely resembles 99% of the Black population in America. And yes, he's just as much White as he is Black, but it's a lot less sexy to look at it that way. I felt the same way about Halle Berry being the first Black actress to win an Oscar -- people went out of their way to ignore the fact that she was raised by a mother who is whiter than snow.

One other thing his supporters would have us all believe is that Obama brought out voters in unprecedented numbers, in droves never seen before. In reality, only 1% more of the population voted than in 2004, something like 62% to 61%. So while, yes, that's more, it's not like it was a monumental increase. It didn't even break a record. So in historic context, it wasn't that big of a deal really.

And then there were the 55 million people who voted against him -- I don't have statistics on this, but I would bet that at least some of them voted not for John McCain, but against the Black guy, so again, race played a role. And isn't that just the way things go in the world? So while some would like to put on airs and act like we did something special in this election, I don't really think that's the truth, and I doubt many thinking people are buying that premise.

My next thought on Obama is that we truly don't know who he is. First, the press never vetted him. He was given an unprecedented free ride by the media during most of the campaign. So in the past, we've been able to rely on the press causing any and everything about a candidate to surface and be examined, but not this time. They simply wouldn't do it. It was like a conspiracy to grease the skids on putting their man in office, and no matter what legitimate question about Obama's past came up, it was quickly buried by the mainstream media and the person raising the question was immediately attacked.

And in addition to the ongoing question mark in the press, we saw several different Obamas. In the primaries, he ran to the Left and beat out Hillary Clinton to get his party's nomination. As soon as he hit the general election against McCain, he suddenly moved center and tried to sound like a moderate in all his stump speeches. And looking back, if one does review his voting record in both the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate, he was the most liberal-voting Senator on record. So past actions indicate a hard Leftist, while stump speeches portrayed a moderate. And since the press was on no mission for the truth about this, we still have no idea what we'll get in a real live President from Mr. Obama. It's a total crapshoot. Hard to believe over 60 million people were willing to go with a crapshoot on this, but that's just more proof that other factors like race and Bush hatred played a major role in his election.

And here's something that really bothered me about the Obama phenomenon, and not so much him, but in the behavior of some of his followers. The whole 'he's our messiah' thing was just too much. People turned him into some fantasy saviour superhero of the world, pinning all sorts of hopes and dreams on him, assigning all sorts of super powers to this one man, a politician. The looney end of the spectrum got out of control with it, and we started to see some really OTP things -- children chanting, songs being sung, art being created, Obama depicted as Jesus -- and the thing that came to mind for me, the only other time I recall seeing that sort of behavior and response -- was in the era of Hitler and the Nazis. *shiver* There was an Obama fever in the left-leaning part of the population that resulted in the same types of behaviors and displays I've read about in history books from Nazi Germany in the 1940s. And I find that VERY disturbing. We'd all like to think we are so different from them, that we learned from that; that it could never happen again. But the hard Left behavior during this election helped me to see how all that happened in the past and, if left unchecked, could happen again. And I find that extremely unsettling for all of us.

Adding one cultural note -- I will say this about the race factor -- though this is not a huge milestone to me personally, it probably truly is for the African American community. And if Obama's election has enabled African Americans to see their lives differently, to truly believe they've broken through a barrier now, then I find value in that. If his election has moved us past a view in the Black public mindset that this is a racist country in which a Black person cannot hope to get ahead, then that's valuable to the culture. I would say to those people -- see, regardless of what you thought, the only force really holding you back was yourself -- but they would have never believed that until now (and many still won't). And so it is probably a very big deal for that sector of society, and if it helps to move them forward in any way, it has value to us all. I think it will be difficult now for them to legitimately claim or truly believe that America is a racist country, since it took the votes of a many non-Blacks to put Obama in office.

And so...he is...headed for office.

Even though he wasn't 'my guy' in this election, in general, I find Obama to be likeable, and I do have admiration for him in certain regards. I very much like the idea of a young Black guy in office, vs. the typical old white guy...I really do. It feels fresh. And I love the idea of having young children living in the White House -- it has a feeling of new beginnings to it. I am, however, very concerned about Obama's lack of experience -- he really, truly doesn't have any, no matter what they may argue. He's spent most of his career either administering social programs or running for office. I feel that he has good intentions (who doesn't?) but he just doesn't know what he doesn't know, and the rest of us will have to suffer for that. And then there are the policies he touted during the election which I cannot agree with -- his tax policies, his views on abortion, his naivety on national security -- we seem to be polar opposites on the things that really matter. So while I like the 'idea' of Obama and admire certain things about him, I can't get past his liberal voting record and the policies he embraced during the campaign. My only hope is that, like most other politicians, he won't make good on any of his promises while in office and will be forced to move to the center on most everything, since that's where the majority of the country lies.

And so, in January, we start anew with a fresh administration. I am hopeful that he will do the right thing, but I am fearful of his naivete and of the vicious Democrat political dogs in power on the Hill -- Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and others -- who have a robust liberal agenda and are prepared to try to shove a lot of policy change down the throats of most of us who sit in the middle. I do hope Obama has a spine and can battle those two. My fear is that he neither has the will nor the inclination to do it, but we'll go into it hoping for the best. He seems to be a rather pragmatic guy, not an idealogue, so the bodes well for him listening to a lot of differing opinions and thinking things through. So we'll hope for the best.

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