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!