One of the main news stories on AOL this morning was about the primary/caucus results. The headline of the story was "Obama Clobbers Clinton Over Weekend." I like the alliteration of the "clobbers Clinton" phrase, don't you? I was following the results over the weekend--the big news last evening was that Clinton has changed her campaign manager. Hmm, sounds like someone is getting worried! I find this campaign exciting on so many levels.
You realize that we're watching history being made, don't you? We've never seen a campaign like this in the U.S., and I think that many years in the future we'll look back on this and remember what a momentous time it was. That's why I'm trying to read as much as I can about it, and pay attention to what is happening. I want to be "in the moment."
The level of engagement is amazing to see. One of my coworkers has a daughter who will be 18 in time to vote in our primary, and she is very interested in what is going on, doing her research, reading, watching...Pat said her daughter will probably be first in line at the polling place! We've all become so apathetic about our political system, and considering what we've seen over the years, you really can't blame us too much! But part of our civic duty is to choose who we want to work for us and who we want to run our country. A campaign that has snapped us out of our funk and made the political process interesting again is exactly what we needed. Remember the baseball strike a few years ago? Everyone was disgusted with baseball and the players. Then Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire got into a home run contest, and everyone was excited and interested in baseball again. Obama and Clinton are the Sosa and McGwire of politics.
A word of warning here: I'm going to write some nice things about Senator Obama, and if you don't like him, you can probably skip this part. I still don't know who I'll vote for--we don't even know who the nominees will be, for sure--but I like this guy in many ways. I like his message. I'm not endorsing him, and everyone needs to make their own decision. I'm just writing down a few things I've been thinking about.
The "Yes We Can" video has really been flying around. I saw it on another journal, and sent it to Ken, who put it up on his journal--you can find it at Bucko, or at YouTube. Or a myriad of other places, I'm sure! I've read things about how Obama can't back up his words, he doesn't have the experience, you "can't run a country on hope," etc., etc. I won't go into that at length, but I'll point out that our last couple of presidents were governors, and last I knew, governors don't have much experience in foreign policy. I also believe that if you are lacking knowledge in a certain area, that's when you need to be intelligent enough to surround yourself with expert advisors. That's not a huge issue for me.
With Obama, it's the message that matters. He has obviously touched something in many of us: a feeling that we can and should be more than what we--individually and as a nation--are. He is forcing us to look at what we've become, and realize that maybe it's time we tried a different way. He speaks of hope, and is sometimes ridiculed for it. When did it become a bad thing to hope? Have we become so cynical that we dismiss the mere thought of any attempt to appeal to the better nature in each of us? Are we afraid to hope?
Obama is not afraid to say the hard things, the things that a lot of people don't want to hear. (Neither is John McCain, and I like that about both of them.) Instead of the usual pandering and promises, Obama will tell teachers that they need to be held to certain standards, and McCain will tell a Michigan audience that the jobs that have been lost aren't coming back. I find such honesty very refreshing.
I may not agree with all of Obama's policy and fiscal plans, but I admire him greatly for getting us to take a look at ourselves (again, as individuals and as a nation) and believe that things can be different...not just different, but BETTER, for all of us. He has stripped the passivity from us and forced us to take a look at our actions, or lack thereof, and realize that if we want change, we have to make it happen. Although I may not agree with him on everything, I believe that he believes in our country, and wants what is best for it. I feel the same way about McCain. I don't sense a craving for personal power in either of them (at least not an extreme craving), more of a desire to serve their country.
Again...just my personal opinions. The important thing is that people are once again passionate about politics and about what we want our nation to be and do going forward. No matter how you feel about any of the candidates, it's an exciting time, and I feel hopeful--there's that word--about our future. If we don't feel hope for our future, why do we bother with anything? Why not just give up? Optimism and hope, a belief that things can be different, are what drive change and provide the impetus to find a solution. A true leader will inspire people to believe that they have the potential to do great things, will raise the bar and expect more, and will have faith in the abilities they use to meet and solve challenges. There's nothing wrong with a little inspiration...it can make very good things happen.