It took me a long time to get on board the Obama campaign. At first, I had simply resolved to defend Obama's right to be in the race for the White House, as a fully-accredited U.S. citizen, irrespective of race. To me, that was the fulfillment of Martin Luther King's dream of a nation where the content of a man or a woman's character should be determining of his or her opportunities, including that of becoming the President of the United States. That Obama is an African-American, that he is of "mixed race" or whatever they wish to consider him is indeed a significant factor in the modern-day civil rights movement in the United States, but I would entirely agree that this in itself does not qualify him to become the President of the United States. It would take much more than that.
My resolve to support Obama fully started to take shape when he delivered his major speech on racial relations in this country. Why, you might say? Well, that was the point when I realized that Barack Obama was truly interjecting in the race a new tone, strikingly different from the prevailing one of intimidation and fear of mushroom clouds; oft-repeated lies and deception; evasion and stonewalling; complete submission to Washington’s supposed benevolent dictatorship (read as follow: “we know terror; we know best how to use terror to combat terror, as we have the supreme ability to match terror tactics with deadlier shock-and-awe tactics of our own; we may also violate your civil liberties at will because we only seek to protect you; furthermore, any resistance on your part will only land you on a list of terror suspects”); and finally, willful isolation ("God is on our side, and we don't give a damn as long as we survive").
I saw high school kids, college kids, recent immigrants and other ordinary folks being swept by the new dynamics of this political season like no other. I realized that this election is not truly about Obama but about the Obama generation. This election is not truly about Obama but about us. This could be a generational sweep. This could be an affirmation of who we want to be as a nation and a telling rejection of who we no longer want to be: a nation polarized by racism, cultural intolerance, and crude worship of power (financial and military). I saw Obama, imperfect as he may be, as the embodiment of their aspirations. And I had to ask myself: Why not?
Once again, this is way bigger than Obama. This is our historical rendezvous and we would be remiss not to be present when it really mattered. Sure, it might have been more satisfying to me to vote for Dennis Kucinich because he represents my positions better on the ideological scale. But what is the point really? This is a moment in time when I and others like me can be (or as close as we might otherwise ever be) in a position of power: the power to transform our political environment; not absolute power, not even dominant power, but the power of being in a position where we can create changes and where our voices will no longer be repressed or simply ignored.
So, as Obama traverses the political minefield that lesser-skilled politicians would not survive, I have to remind myself of all the reactionary forces that are arrayed against him and how he must also play their game in order to remain electable. Surely, he has disappointed me in a number of areas, such as: a) his obligatory tough line on Castro in lieu of pledging unequivocally to lift all travel restrictions, and the stupid (dictatorship-boosting) economic embargo that never worked as intended in the first place, because the rest of the world does not follow it, for good reason; b) his obligatory surrender to the supremacist interests of the pro-Israeli lobby, because... he would otherwise torpedo his chances; c) his obligatory signal to the military complex that he is “a man with testicular fortitude”, as in his reference to "the good war" in Afghanistan, an oxymoron if I ever heard one; d) his perhaps not so obligatory vote on the FISA bill granting retroactive immunity from civil prosecution to the Telecom companies for their illegal wiretapping of ordinary Americans, simply because Bush and Cheney demanded it.
At this point though, we have to be pragmatic and count our blessings: Obama offers greater hope on a sensible and comprehensive immigration policy (that used to be McCain's greatest selling point, but he betrayed it for aligning himself with the forces of fear and intolerance). Obama projects himself as someone who is really interested to know other viewpoints before doing the macho thing about being the greatest military superpower ever with license to kill and obliterate others as pleases him or as benefits corporate structures in a shortsighted kind of way.
Obama, not for Obama, but Obama for you and me, for our children and grand-children so they have a better chance of sorting out this mess we have created or let others create by our inaction. Obama, not for Obama, but Obama for living without the yoke of oppression imposed by the Bush-Cheney cabal in Washington D.C. and the designated inheritor of their policies, Senator John McCain.
Ask yourself, whom would you trust to choose the next person(s) to be on the Supreme Court of the United States: Barack Obama or John McCain? To me, the answer is a shut eye slam dunk. What about you?
Will Obama solve all or most of our problems? Not automatically, not by a long shot! ONLY WE CAN. But I assure you that with Obama as President of the United States, we will have a better footing from which to address our problems than if we continue to be governed by the SAME "neoconservative" pro-imperialist policies that have absolutely ravaged the standards of living and reasonable expectations of not only U.S. citizens but those of World citizens everywhere.
For those trusting Obama to do all the right things at every turn, they will surely be disappointed. First of all, the man will have to be the President of all Americans and manage all of their expectations. That is a job that I do not envy.
For those of us however, who realize that this may represent a historic change for a more enlightened leadership in the U.S. with the opportunity for us to wash our dirty linen, not all at once since our washing machine (the government) does not offer us that option or simply does not have that gigantic capacity, but with enough small change (we have to put it in) to produce loads and loads of clean laundry to make the world willing to accompany us on the way to saving this planet from utter destruction, there is simply no other choice. The brand is Obama. The agents of change are you and me.