my Ate, my thoughts on obama/clinton

I guess its ironic that my progressive minded big sister ended up living in the traditionally red state of Texas. But then again, working in  the all consuming world of academia and living in the most liberal part of  the state probably balances things out somewhat. Anyway, Texas is going to have a big impact on the continuing battle for the Democratic party's presidential nomination. And Ate is taking careful consideration of the upcoming primary. We had a nice exchange of thoughts. I respect her progressive intellect immensely - and I'm not just saying that because she's my ate.  I explain my support for Obama below. Now, I'm not the type to push political views on people - I feel its more important that everyone get involved in the process this time around.


Ate, I enjoy your thoughts on the upcoming primary. My outlook is not as profound or even issues-oriented but more representative of my gut feelings:

Your reference of Obama's "cult of personality" is a great description of why I was torn about him in the beginning. The enthusiasm surrounding his campaign is impressive and at times strangely cult-like. Early on, I was cynical (as usual), questioning his inexperience and his idealism. Is he a visionary or is he blowing hot air? Can he possibly translate any of his ideas into real action? But at the same time, I found myself getting inspired. Words are just words but at the same time people need to be inspired. Maybe things can happen when people are inspired. Historically, change happens when enough people are energized to make it happen. Yes, Obama is a seductive public speaker but I was more impressed by his ability to energize and connect with a diverse set of people - especially the usually dispassionate crowds. It gave a cynic like me (who never believes in politicians) a little hope that he can reach, unite and lead people in the right direction.

And what does experience mean when its rooted in the corruptive ways that made me cynical of the government in the first place?

Which brings me to Hillary. I agree with your assessment of Clinton and I would vote for her if she wins the nomination. I like her foreign policy and health care proposals and respect her determination. There is a comfort in that Hillary is more of a known commodity. Her presidency would harken a return to the Clinton era - an improvement over Dubya but a continuance of what's wrong with Washington rather than an effort to change things. During the 90s, the Clintons aligned themselves with lobbyists, conformed to appease interest groups, and inspired unproductive bipartisanship. I agree with you that while that era is remembered fondly by Dems, it also laid some of the groundwork that troubles us today.

As a side note, her current campaign frames her as a career politician in my eyes - capable of getting dirty to achieve her ends. I'm not like Dad - I don't have an issue with the "Billary" two headed monster. I had a problem with how Bill was operating early on. Especially when he came out before S.C. to bring out the race issue and paint Obama as the "black" candidate. She may or may not have authorized it but some of her strategies smell of tired negative politricks.

While there's no guarantee that Obama can change things, at least he represents a chance to do so. I think Obama and Clinton share the same basic ideals but Obama evokes an inspirational tone that is needed for the country at this time. I remember his S.C. victory speech when he declared that the upcoming election is not about religion, age, race or gender but about past v.s. future. Again these are just words, but it rang true with me. I think he represents the future - not only because he's biracial but because of his inclusive vision. And I'd like to give him a chance to put that vision into action.

Now, I realize that the odds are stacked against Obama being able to change the culture in Washington. It will be impossible to acheive all of his ideals. He might even fail miserably - but its a risk worth taking, considering the rewards gained from the minute possibility that he use power in a new way. Sometimes, I still wonder if I'm just drinking the kool-aid too much but I feel the country needs a fresh start and Obama's potential for a transcendent presidency is more attractive than the alternatives of keeping the status quo or reaching back into the past.

My wife is more of a Hillary supporter because she believes that her presidency will bring a stability that American needs in these "uncertain times". We don't really get into any heated debates and we both understand the positives of both candidates. If Obama wasn't running, I would willingly overlook Hillary's flaws and support her. But the reality is that he is running and I'm less cynical of his potential than before. That being said...I have no idea what's going to happen. Obama's got the momentum but Hillary still has a chance. Supposedly it all rides on Ohio and Texas. Feeling any of this pressure??


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