Okay, so I missed Obama’s speech yesterday, but reading the transcript in my office this morning made me break down and think a little. Eloquent prose aside (after seven years of President Shrub it’s nice to listen to someone speak in sentences), and even though there wasn’t really any one policy action he was outlining as a president-elect, I’m aware and transformed by the exigence of the speech itself. He rallied all the correct arguments, accented all the correct impacts, and projected alternatives (prophesied? okay okay, I’ll lay off) for an emotional architecture of solvency. The synthesis of excellent rhetoric and semiotic inflection made me eat that shit up in ways you can’t imagine.
Since the election campaign started about a year and a half ago, I’ve done nothing but bitch and complain about the appalling process (read: reality show) Americans call ‘Elections.’ I’m committed to third party candidacies, feed off the asinine caricatures politicians make of themselves, loathe the amount of wealth spilled for a few ballots, and generally distrust the issues chosen for campaign platforms. And while I still think my hesitations have their merit, I sometimes forget that radical change can truly come from within institutions–from the bowels of governmentality. As for Hilary, no matter how important the novelty of having a woman president may be, she hasn’t put herself out there. She’s here to service power, and not to have power service us. For those who look to her as a feminist, she still has a lot to learn about Seneca Falls.
I really wanted Kucinich. He’s unabashedly liberal, totally weird, and so full love that people often can’t access his lens of politics. I’m totally proud to call him my Congressperson. Plus, his favorite musicians are Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco and Michael Franti. He’s a kindred stoner. But Joan Baez supports Obama. And Obama is down with Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and the Fugees. Fu-Gee-La baby.
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds –- by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.
I still have a lot problems with Obama. His website indicates that he supported Israel’s blitzkrieg of Lebanon in 2006. He wants to expand the military by adding nearly a hundred thousand soldiers and Marines. He’s blatantly lacking any dialogue about gender and sexuality issues. His plan for energy consumption pretty much consists of replacing oil with biofuels and ethanol. His ideas on immigration are shockingly uncritical and amounts to ‘border security’ coupled with assimilation through bureaucratic means. He’s not talking about how to legally fix the insane expansion and annexing of executive powers in the past seven years. Obama is way outdated on the economy, and nowhere is he outlining the criminal processes occurring in the name of money, nor the transparency and civil liberties displaced.
In short, he’s not perfect. But a my roommate Sarah has been hounding as she researches imperialism and democracy in Iran, we need to stop abandoning–indeed, attacking–liberals who may not fight for our particular brand of liberty and progressivism, but realize that in the end, we are all struggling for similar humanness.
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” ~ Jimmy Hendrix