Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Barak Obama Said

Barak Obama's speech of yesterday brought me back to a time when I was the only white member of a small town Ohio church where a firey, liberation theologist sounded a good bit like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright sounds today. Jim Holloman was unafraid to speak truth to power and in that time the words he uttered were viewed as heretical. Today we recognize the truth in what he said as we celebrate the changes that have taken place in the interim and as we continue to struggle for the changes still needed.

What Barak Obama said yesterday could only have been said by him. And it could only have come from his core. I honor, respect, and celebrate his words and commend his speech to you. If you haven't yet heard it click on the title to this column and watch it. You'll see a politician risk it all to speak truth to power. We hold the power of the ballot box, and his willingness to reject the politics of division while holding out a call for unity was gutsy and the right thing to do. It signaled that he wants to be president but not at any cost. That he chooses to live what he advocates: unity above divisiveness.

Barak Obama refused to throw Jeremiah Wright under the bus while he likewise refused to do the same to his own white Grandmother whom he knows loves him as much as anything in the world and who has sacrificed for him over and over, but who once revealed to him that she felt fear when passing black men on the street or who had uttered stereotypes that made him cringe.

We can choose to recognize the truth in his words and accept the possibilities they offer or we can return to the scorched earth politics of the past where the kitchen sink philosophy reigns: throw everything at the wall and something will stick.

Imagine a world where we choose to aid countries with economic development rather than munitions. Where we encourage centuries old combatants to acknowledge their commonalities rather than succumbing to the impulse to fight over their differences. Where we value the health of every person on earth and the earth herself. Where we see the possibilities offered at a time of transition rather than lament the loss of the same old same old...

I choose a future where we talk with one another rather than at one another; where we celebrate the wholesome potential of our country rather than the destructive impulses of earlier generations. I choose to support the candidacy of Barak Obama because we've tried the other way and it hasn't worked; because if we squander this opportunity at a new way of living we aren't likely to have another soon - perhaps not for another generation. I invite you to join me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Keith Olbermann's response to Geraldine Ferraro's comments are over the top

Keith Olbermann's response to Geraldine Ferraro's comments (click on title of this article) about Barak Obama's candidacy are heart felt and yet over the top. He's both right and wrong, but more important, he missed a chance to call for reason from both the Clinton and Obama campaigns in this divisive contre temps.

I believe that Geraldine Ferraro meant to say that sexism is more deeply ingrained in our society than is racism - but she didn't. I believe that Senator Obama could have taken a pass on this controversy by acknowledging that both racism and sexism are insidious and hateful; and that he wants no part of either.

I also believe that Ferraro's comments emanate from a lifetime of put downs at the hands of men who don't see sexism for what it is - an assumption of entitlement that women must work twice as hard to achieve, and must wait in line for the chance to attain. Let us not forget that black men got the right to vote in 1870 while women had to struggle an additional 50 years for the same - and had to achieve it through a constitutional amendment as opposed to a Supreme Court decision.

Finally, I believe that Keith Olbermann is passionate about what he sees as a blunder by the Clinton campaign - and I agree with him, but I see that both campaigns have bungled this situation and that the Democratic Party may pay a price for it.

My bottom line comes down on the side of Obama because I am concerned that Sen. Clinton insists on using Karl Rovian tactics to fight for the presidency at a time when we are sick of such crap. It is precisely because Barack Obama promises a new way of governing that I voted for him.

Can we not recognize that both Geraldine Ferarro and Barak Obama are right (or wrong)? There is no place for racism in our society. There is no place for sexism in our society and unless we acknowledge and eradicate both from 21st century America we may be consigned to live yet another century filled with hatred and divisiveness - a prospect that I do not want to face.