18 March 2008

Sen. Obama, missing the mark

After reading speeches by Sen. Obama I have come to understand the wide differences between the spoken word, which moves to passion and emotion, and the written word, which requires precision and rigorousness of thought to produce a cogent observation. Sen. Obama is extremely good with oratory and is able to take rather mundane and quite vaporous ideas and make them sound new and wonderful, while they are old and re-vamped. When a politician reaches for my emotions, I smell 'deceit' as this is a Nation founded on Reason and Discourse to create democracy amongst the public. With that said, I was quite prepared to actually get something different from Sen. Obama as he had, apparently, the first real chance in his campaign to seriously switch gears, derail both opponents left (Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain) and perform a serious piece of jujitsu on the Left and Right in America to so befuddle them that the Center would fall to him in the election.

From his speech transcript (via RealClearPolitics) he would have had to change the basic thematic structure of it and jettison those parts supporting Rev. Wright starting at the paragraph that begins "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." all the way to this sentence starting "This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up." After that remove the next two paragraphs and the first sentence that follows, "In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community." and then continue on with the one following so that things look like this:

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

By removing the language of hatred, black community and trying to excuse those who have had two generations to work things out, this would be the point where he draws things together, he has spanned the generation that originally fought and is now addressing the resentment caused by the 'solutions' put in place.

At this point there is one thing that he could do that no other candidate in the United States could do, and that is to call for the ending of all racial quotas, set-asides and anything else, and dedicate him to the full equality, under law, of all citizens of the US. The rhetoric would sound something like this:

"Thus, I have come to realize by listening to the problems of blacks and whites together that the solutions that have been put in place by the intervening generations have not worked and need to be abolished as they are causing more divisiveness than Unity in Our Nation.

I pledge to you here, today, before all of the members of the American Community that for the rest of my life in public service I will work to end all enforcement of all racial, ethnic or any other quota that divides America. Two Generations is enough and more than enough for us to join together and examine the problems of the poor, black and white, and address them together as one Nation. While I am young in this world, I promise you that I will work unstintingly to confront demagogues and repudiate any who would divide America by race, class, ethnicity, gender or mere skin color.

That has no place in America today.

For all these things that were seen as 'good', in the way of handouts and set-asides, have caused tremendous harm to America and must end, along with a culture that has come to depend on our government for mere cash while it is their bodies and souls that we must come together on saving as good Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and people of all religious faith and background. That is what we are enjoined to do by our Forefathers by that great document created so long ago and yet is as fresh as yesterday.

If elected President I will not enforce any law that divides this Nation in that way and will take any that wish to dispute this to the Supreme Court and I will work hard, with Congress, to end these things forevermore in America so that we are One People striving to perform the perfection of ourselves with our fellow man. I will also have investigated and prosecuted any and all discrimination suits that have founding and that go against the basic civil rights of the citizenry without respect to the race, class, religion, ethnicity or gender of those bringing the suit. Congress can impeach me on this, if they dare, but I will never bow down to those wishing to divide America."

Yes, he could have gone for the 'content of their characters, not color of their skin' route! Pure and equal enforcement of the laws, no special privileges for anyone, and anyone who crosses that line towards division in the area of civil rights gets the boom lowered on them.

Sen. Clinton would see her white support evaporate as Sen. Obama would be seen as 'delivering on the post-racial goods' while she practiced the 'old and tired ways of division'. She could not say nor do these things as Bill had taken it as far as he could possibly go within the Party by a white President.

Sen. McCain would see someone who would be outdoing Ronald Reagan and who had stolen this social issues from the *right* and gotten support from it in the *center*. All of his work at 'bipartisanship' would be seen as mere verbiage as he would be faced with someone who had just pointed out that 'bipartisanship' is the problem, not the cure, in the way it has been practiced since the mid-1960's. For the man who had spent his years in office putting quotas, set-asides and other such race based goodies into laws, he would now be slapped and slapped hard with them as failures.

What would the Left do? They would have *no one* to turn to: Sen. Clinton has already demonstrated that she garners more division and hatred than acceptance and support. They could not demagogue it as they would be pointed out as doing so and 'part of the problem'. And if they shift to accept it, then they are taking a 'conservative' position, which they have decried for decades... which is part of the problem, of course.

And the Right? Dumbfounded if this speech had been done like that: lead in, acceptance of what Rev. Wright has done, and then the ultimate repudiation of all the words and ideas that Wright is espousing. Yes, problems with the sudden shift, but they also have a huge video clip of promises to hold Sen. Obama to and decry any actions taken contrary to those views. Really, once people started to examine the record on Sen. McCain, what could the Right do? Say that racial quotas and set-asides are *good* when a black man is running saying they are bad and hurtful... to whites?


He could have topped it off naming Bill Cosby as VP!

Yup, backhand and forehand, against race, culture and, really, all stereotypes.

Now that would have been a neat piece of work by an astute politician able to realize the multiple errors in the politicians going after him and tie them all in knots. By the time anyone could craft a half-way decent response, PA would be over, the super-delegates would have been swayed and hard by this speech, and Sen. McCain would be facing someone trumping his 'civility' campaign from the Right and the Left to pull in the Center. The far Left would go nuts, of course, but they wouldn't matter due to their small size and lack of sway outside of the Primaries, and this sort of speech would have galvanized a wide spectrum around Sen. Obama.

Of course Sen. Obama has not the insight, guts, nor courage to say these things... he goes on talking about separate communities, but he does not address the concrete things that have been done which have not healed that divide.

Nor does he taken any firm stance on the actual things that these 'communities' can do to become fully at one with each other and set the reverberations of the past on *mute*.

Unfortunately Sen. Obama is not the man to do this... he is a Democratic politician from the corrupt political machine tied into racial division and organized crime. America will have to wait for a better man to say what needs to be said.

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