Taking A Position
..because I'll be damned if I'm going to be on the wrong side of history.
OK. Here's the thing: I despise politicians. I always have. They'll say and do whatever they have to say and do in order to manipulate the public into voting for them. At the national level, each party is so compromised that one is likely to believe Ralph Nader when he says that the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is the velocity with which their knees hit the ground when the corporations come calling. Having admitted that, I have to reveal to you that I've decided to back Obama.
Why? Two reasons. The first is because I have no use for any of the other candidates. A person who takes up the moniker Another Conflict Theorist wouldn't be going Republican for obvious reasons. That leaves the Dems and one or two independents. Unsurprisingly, they're an especially feckless, unimpressive lot. Here's how the main "contenders" stack up as I see it..
John Edwards - For all intents and purposes, Edwards is playing the role of The Great White Hope. Joe Biden isn't on anyone's radar (fuck him for jumping in bed with the credit card companies a few years ago, anyway) and Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd are running with about as much conviction as Master P mustered for his turn on Dancing With The Stars. So John Edwards finds himself in the unique position of being the only white man in his party with a snowball's chance in Hell of getting the nomination. Point blank, Edwards is full, to the brim, of shit. This is a rich man who has benefited from white privilege his entire life. He's proclaimed that he intends to confront the problem of American poverty head on. That sounds fantastic but are we really supposed to accept the idea that a man with his pedigree will work to level the economic playing field for minorities and the poor at the expense of those like himself?
Dennis Kucinich - Kucinich would have gotten my vote in undergrad. Back then, my only concern was backing a horse who regurgitated all of the anti-right liberalism that I'd accepted as the gospel. Nowadays, when I look at Kucinich, I see a certified loon who has publicly expressed a belief in ghosts and alien visitation. Seriously. Those are the things that give me pause. Admittedly, I like his views on just about everything. However, if I have a problem with this self-proclaimed "faith healer" running for the highest office in the land I might have a problem with Kucinich's campaign. I tend to vote NO on quackery.
Ron Paul - A lot of people who should know better seem to be enamored of Ron Paul. I don't get it. Whenever I run into a black person who digs Paul I have to fight back the urge to shake the shit out of them and scream, "He's a fucking libertarian you idiot!" Libertarians, who are overwhelmingly white & male, view the government as this country's predominant oppressive agent. It's the government (taxing them into oblivion, legislating what Americans can and can't do with their property, over-regulating their businesses, creating special protections for minorities, etc.) that is the primary obstacle to their self-fulfillment. If you don't share this worldview you would be (forgive me) a God-damned fool to support Paul (btw, I'd like to know where these broke Paul-pushers will be sending their kids to school AFTER their champion eliminates public funding of education). Also, I'd like to know if Ron Paul's black supporters are OK with his belief that the government's role in addressing American racism ended in 1870 with the 15th Amendment, or his discussing "property rights" while he's supposed to be answering a question about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. By the way, Paul's acceptance of a campaign contribution from the racist organization Stormfront doesn't really bother me. Candidates can't keep track of every single dollar that they receive from donors. My issue is that Stormfront decided Paul was worth supporting in the first place. Obviously, Stormfront sees something in Paul (opposition to Hate Crime penalties, Affirmative Action, etc.) that they like.
Hillary Clinton - Simply put: Hillary's carpet bagging ass is pretending like she's got some hard won experience simply because she's fucked a president. This I don't mind so much. She's using the only leverage she has to attempt to distance herself from Obama. What does make me sad about her campaign is the fact that so many black folks - particularly black women - are supporting it. Recently, she's been parading out a host of famous black people, some quite impressive (others not so much) to counter the Oprah Factor. To that end, Andrew Young came out publicly against Obama, saying that the Senator isn't ready for the rigors of the office. Honestly, an old guard, 'We Shall Overcome' Negro like Andrew Young ought to be ashamed of himself for dismissing Obama because he "doesn't have a support network." Hey Drew, if you've bothered to look down from your Civil Rights status quo perch to notice that Obama might need some help, why don't you offer up your considerable services? Don't you believe it, folks. Andrew Young, like many of the acquiescent Civil Rights Era lap dogs who decorate the White House lawns of Democratic presidents, is a bought and paid for chump who just isn't comfortable with a brother who didn't come up through the same ranks as he. Furthermore, I'm also beginning to take Clinton's questioning of Obama's "electability" personally. You're a fool if you don't believe that some of her jabs (on his admitted use of drugs, on his crack/cocaine sentencing stance, on his handgun control stance, etc.) are racially motivated. The Clinton campaign has even gone so far as to suggest that Obama might have dealt drugs as well. That tells me all I need to know about where she's coming from.
The second reason I've decided to back Obama is because he's a Not Terribly Despicable Candidate Who Happens to be a Black Man and Also Happens To Have A Legitimate Shot at Winning the Presidency. That's right. Up until now, whenever my father told me that I probably wouldn't see a black president in my lifetime I accepted his words on face value. Some time within the last few months it occurred to me that my father could be wrong (wouldn't be the first time - let's just say that backing Beta over VHS doesn't even crack the top 100). Frankly, Americans of every stripe seem to really like Obama. He's positive, charismatic and appears to embody the racial unity upon which many place their hopes for the future.
Sadly, I can't count the number of black folks that I've run into who insist that they're not going to vote for Obama just because of the color of his skin. They insist that they're voting on principle. These are the same people who voted for Bill Clinton primarily because he played the saxophone on Arsenio Hall's show. Where was all the moral conviction when the libidinous, Welfare Reform Act signing, bombing-while-being-impeached hustler was getting lap dances in the Oval Office? It's fine to vote your conscience but I can't help but wonder how rabid the black support for Obama would be if he had a history of shit-talking, sax playing and cheating on his wife.
At any rate, though I'm hopeful, I'm not holding my breath for an Obama victory. He's got some considerable obstacles in front of him. I just think it would be a real shame if he couldn't quite get there because he didn't get enough support from his own people.