Obama, RFK, and Making History

June 5th, 2008

I think that for the first time, when I go to vote this November, I will probably not have to hold my nose as I make a selection for president. I don’t agree with Obama on everything, of course, but the core of what he stands for — that it is time to enter a post-racial, post-partisan time — and that putting the interests of the people before those of the corporation — is a powerful message.

And I’m not the only one that thinks so. One interesting read is Why This 55-Year-Old White Lifelong Republican Wants Obama To Win by Frank Schaeffer. He’s a pro-life, pro-military Republican that actually campaigned for McCain in 2000, and this year he’s supporting Obama. He pointed out another key point: Obama does not play on our fears.

Then there’s A Transformational Moment by Jim Wallis, who grew up in a time when white people that supported civil rights were literally putting their lives on the line. He ends with:

This morning I heard several interviews on NPR with black Americans about their response to Obama’s nomination. One older woman said, “A black man running for president, did you hear what just I said? A black man running for president of the United States ….” She just kept repeating the words, and succinctly captured my own personal feelings.

Yes, it is truly historic, and the U.K. newspaper headlines captured that sentiment as did papers around the world. Nothing could change the image of America around the world more than this. But it is more than historic; it is very personal for many of my generation. A new generation just sees this as natural — he’s an inspirational leader who happens to be black, which matters little to them. But for my generation — I’m dating myself now — this is a transformational moment, one we didn’t think would come in our lifetimes. Race was the issue that changed us, shaped us, determined our path, and even defined the meaning of our faith. Now a black man is running for president of the United States. Amazing grace.

Tom Hayden reflects on the similarities between Obama and RFK, another interesting read. He concludes with:

Those who denounce Obama — and the possibilities of all electoral politics- – should ponder the effectiveness of sitting judgmentally on the sidelines while an Unexpected Future arrives through the sheer will of a new generation. They should consider whether politics and history can be reduced to a fixed determinism that is endlessly repeated, as if there are no surprises. We can have our differences with Obama’s specific policies, as I certainly do, but those should be measured against the prospect that a movement might transform him even as his very rise continues to transform the rest of us.

And now for something less inspiring. If you go look over at the latest blog entry at hillaryclinton.com and read the comments, these readers frankly sound more than a little loony. There are rampant accusations that Obama “stole the election” with the help of the DNC. That makes no sense to me; he followed the rules, and the DNC gave Clinton more delegates than she should have had with the rules as they were at the start of the game (which she supported then). The Obama campaign even rejected a plan that was less favorable to Clinton at the DNC rules committee meeting on Saturday. They also go on and on about how Obama has had so many scandals (though the Clinton real estate scandals really are far more serious than a former pastor). It all looks so very petty, and I wonder why Clinton has whipped up her supporters to such a fervent extent. Perhaps it was an accident, but you’d think things like this are rarely an accident with her.

Categories: Politics

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  1. mrd

    The Hill-trolls are pretty sad and confused. It’s kinda funny, I guess.

    Reply

  2. cliff

    John, I think the final sinking into the abyss of socialism will be a great lesson to what is left of America so long as we can recover. That will be the real test in about ten years. Can we recover?

    Reply

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