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Obamaudacity

Obamaudacity: The possibly irrationally exuberant belief that Barack Obama's candidacy will energize young voters, sweeping him into the White House and causing Generations X and Y to take ownership of their country.


Yes, I've been on the fence for a long time regarding what has now become the Obama/Clinton /Edwards race, partly because none of them was my first choice. Long before his movie won an Academcy Award and he shared a Nobel Prize, I had hoped that Al Gore would take all his newfound populist energy and fame and make a final run at the White House. It was not to be, but I held out hope.

But now we're getting down to the wire, and I feel like I have to choose. And, given my choices, I've come down with a mild case of Obamaudacity, for a variety of reasons.

First, I'm not a Hillary hater, but I can kinda understand those who are. I would love to see a woman in the White House as someone other than the First Lady, but I'm not certain whether Hillary is that woman. I don't think the Hillary folks truly recognize how much of the African American community's fondness for Bill is manifested as grace toward Hillary. And, as much as Bill Clinton did, most likely with Hillary's help, to increase the number of African American federal judges and to appoint African Americans to his cabinet, I'm still smarting over the Clintons' treatment of Lani Guinier. Remember her? The nominee for head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice? I hated the way she was made out to be some "quota queen." Trust me, I had to read some of her academic writings in law school, and she wasn't nearly as radical as she was made out to be. What I hated more was that the Clintons didn't defend her and she wasn't allowed to defend herself. But God and Kharma worked it all out -- she made history as the first African American woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School. But it still left an image of the Clintons in my mind as a couple that turns tail on their friends at the whiff of controversy or confrontation.

The other reason I'm not feeling Hillary is that her candidacy reminds me of the same old tired political tactics that the candidates use first to inflict harm on their party brethren and then to inflict harm on the other party's candidate. Her swipes at Barack Obama's inexperience ring hollow for me. First, I love that Obama has grassroots political experience from actually working to organize everyday people to vote. Second, her backhanded remark to the effect that spending part of one's childhood in a foreign country doesn't count as foreign policy experience lends itself to some irony and doesn't exactly ring true. If that is indeed the case, then sleeping with the president doesn't equate to foreign policy experience, either; otherwise, Monica Lewinsky would be more than qualified to be Secretary of State. She did, after all, overhear President Clinton talking to Arafat while she was in flagrante fellatio.

And, as someone who actually did live in a foreign country, albeit for a short time during college, I would beg to differ with her assessment. I studied in Spain as a college student during the Reagan years, when the dollar was at an all time high. I learned first hand the effect of U.S. monetary and foreign policy on other nations. For instance, I never understood why, when I went to the bank to change my dollars into pesetas, that I was treated with disdain. One of my Spanish classmates explained it to me curtly: "Don't you get it? Oil is bought in dollars. It's winter, and the dollar is high compared to the peseta. That means that a lot of poor people in this country won't be able to afford to heat their homes. And you come walking in the bank, exchanging dollars like they're nothing. Of course they hate you."

Talk about foreign/economic policy 101. If Obama gained even a scintilla of an other-worldly perspective on the effects of U.S. foreign and economic policy on other countries, or even an understanding of how non-Americans regard this nation, he will have brought far more of worth into the White House than its current occupant. Plus, if I haven't learned anything else from the likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, I've learned this: Don't confuse experience with wisdom.

Finally, I've got Obamaudacity because of my experience teaching young people. When I taught law students, the one thing I noticed was that very few of the black law students I met were registered Democrats. Those who were registered to vote at all were primarily Independents. They didn't feel any Roosevelt/Kennedy/Clinton loyalty to the Democratic party. And they were largely apathetic, suffering from "political party fatigue." Yet, it is this very group that has the most to lose if they are not politically energized and engaged. They're Gen X and Gen Y, so that means they're going to get the sloppy seconds of the Baby Boom generation -- sloppy environment, sloppy Social Security, sloppy economy, sloppy deficit, sloppy never-ending war in Iraq, sloppy immigration policy, sloppy everything. Basically, we Baby Boomers are going to leave these young folks to clean up our mess. They might as well get started now and have a say in who is going to help them do it. And if Obama is their choice, then, as someone in the tail end of the Baby Boom generation, I want to honor their choice. To them, I imagine, he represents a clean slate unsullied by past scandals, support for the war in Iraq, and the same recycled political hacks from both parties.

I know Baby Boomers won't let go of Rolling Stones concerts -- hell, some of us would still be following the Grateful Dead if Jerry Garcia were alive -- as well as smoking doobies, endless self-improvement, and flagrant conspicuous consumption. But maybe, just maybe, we need to cede to the choices of the generations behind us. Maybe we need a case of Obamaudacity.

Comments

KreativeMix said…
LMAO!!! you're hilarious.
TaraLee said…
I love the word "Obamaducity" but now I am thinking that Obamatism is also a good choice. I am ready for a change, and I hope he can go all of the way. I suppose if I had to I could close my eyes and vote for Hill-Billy as I do love me some Bill Clinton, and he would be back as close as he can get. But I do really want to see a change, and she does not represent one.
Anonymous said…
As a Gen X'er, i am all for Obama. i thought for a while about our girl Hil. i then realized that she was just like everyf**kingelse.
i want something new. i want something fresh. i want someone willing to take chances and tell those who oppose to go f**k themselves!
I feel an overwhelming sense of worry though (many Gen X'ers suffer from catastrophizing syndrome) that my supposed "forward" thinking might cause this man his life.
Yes, i know that HE is running for office. it is not like America the land of the mall is going to write him in for assassination. i just worry that maybe our country is not ready for the right person for The Job. i worry, but i continue to vote. i look at some of my friends who do not vote through crossed eyes. i want to throttle some of them who don't think they could make a difference. i am not asking them to make a difference. what i am asking is for them to make a decision. a rational, well thought out decision on their own.

i love science fiction and on the steve ely podcast there was a story that stank of necessary change.
http://classic.escapepod.org/?p=23
Cloned copies of Albert Einstein decided that the world could not pull their heads out of their asses and all 237 of them planned to take over the world for it own good.

you should listen to it.

have fun

gracie

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