Sunday, July 29, 2007

Eh-hum # 188

This post was inspired by an article from Newsweek magazine (can also be found online) regarding Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign trail and racial politics in the US. After reading it, I found myself rooting for Obama and wanting him to succeed in the 2008 elections.

While its true he may not have the experience (and Bill) that Hillary Clinton boasts, he seems to be the genuine article. Plus, many have expressed admiration for Obama's ability to reconcile opposing sides, not neccessarily a sign of weakness on his part. According to Newsweek, "Many of Obama's supporters are enthralled by the content of his character—by his earnest desire to heal the nation's political divisions and to restore America's reputation in the world. Many also are excited by the color of his skin and the chance to turn the page on more than two centuries of painful racial history." However, it is interesting to note that Obama dismisses the idea that his campaign (and perhaps his eventual win) is considered as "post-racial" politics. Plus, he asserts that his campaign does not represent an easy shortcut to reconciliation. He is not running as a representative of the African-American people, but he is running as someone who is concern about the issues and challenges facing the country and the Americans today.

But the main question being raised to Obama (as per the Newsweek article) is that can he appeal both to black and white voters while being true to himself? For instance, being educated in Harvard, many fellow African-Americans questions whether he is black enough? Race in politics is tricky I think, because discussions can become very subjective. Obama can use it to gain leverage (to gain sympathy), but it could bring him down as well (labelled as being biased).

I think his wife, Michelle, gave a rather insightful answer to those people questioning his ability to lead due to his race: "Barack poses this interesting dilemma because we are still a country that puts people in boxes...Barack kind of shakes up those notions because his life has crossed so many different paths. He grew up in Hawaii but he was indeed a community organizer. He became very entrenched and rooted in the black community on the South Side. He is very much a black man, but he's very much the son of his mother, who was very much a white woman, and he grew up with white grandparents". I like about the bit about the boxes, its somewhat synonymous to labelling people.

Perhaps, this is an opportunity for the Americans to look beyond race and see the candidate based on his or her credentials and platform. I would like to think that the next US president would look after the welfare of all American people, regardless of race. The impression I got from the article is that Obama doesn't intend to help only African-Americans, but the rest of the country as well. And I guess America in return should also help him to straigthen things out should he be successful in 2008.

Well, that's my opinion anyways. Eh-hum.

By the way, it is also interesting that YouTube is not only for homemade viral videos.

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