human behavior

O-my-bama

Posted in American Culture & Politics by humanb on December 1, 2006

obama2

I’m trying to be objective about Obama, but the guy is just so damn fine. Can ya dig it? Dignified, articulate, contemplative, sincere, self-critical and compassionate. The growing love affair with this man is a strange but very real phenomenon, and in my case was inspired by a single speech.

You can return to this speech today, but it may not be the same for you, or as powerful, if you’ve never heard it before. But for those who heard it live, it rocked the house.

We had lived through the emotional roller coasters that were the Bush/Gore election and the Bush first term. We had followed with weak interest and some despair, the ordinary Democratic candidates in the primary, and we had reluctantly and unenthusiastically rallied around the victor, John Kerry. We had less hope of his success than we had of Gore’s, and tuning in to the 2004 Democratic National Convention that would declare Kerry our candidate, was little more than an act of duty. And then: a tall, skinny, relative stranger came up to the podium to tell us a story.


Joe Klein writes in the 23 October 2006 cover story for Time about the man no longer a stranger to us:

Obama’s personal appeal is made manifest when he steps down from the podium and is swarmed by well-wishers of all ages and hues, although the difference in reaction between whites and blacks is subtly striking. The African Americans tend to be fairly reserved – quiet pride, knowing nods and be-careful-now looks. The white people, by contrast, are out of control.

…. Indeed, as we traveled that Saturday through downstate Illinois and then across the Mississippi into the mythic presidential-campaign state of Iowa, Obama seemed the political equivalent of a rainbow – a sudden preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy.

One speech sparked the affair, and no one more than Obama, is fearful of the one misstep that will end it.

The publication of his second book, The Audacity of Hope, was timely and wise. It enabled him to carefully shape his own public image, to thoughtfully articulate his policies, and to diffuse any potentially controversial elements in his past (drugs, e.g.) – all in the peace and quiet of his own study, and over time. With but a young public life, his books are pretty much all we’ve got. Little wonder The Audacity of Hope has become a national bestseller, outselling most political autobiographies of its kind.

The best measure of this man’s appeal and suspected power, will be the actions of one woman. There are rumblings Hillary Clinton is worried about his entrance into the presidential contest, and more recent speculation of her even withdrawing should he enter. The idea of Hillary withdrawing from the presidential contest challenges belief, but then so does America’s love affair with a skinny black man named Obama Hussein.

I mean come on, the guy’s not that great. Or is he?

ELSEWHERE: The Onion on Obama.

Advertisements

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Tanu said, on December 7, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    I think Obama is just smart. He is using the right people and saying the right things. He is the son of an immigrant and I would hope for such a future for my children for sure.

  2. humanb said, on December 7, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    “I think Obama is just smart.”

    But that is a large part of the point. You just don’t see this kind of “smart” in American politics that often – the kind of smart:

    – that enables you to speak articulately and with force and persuasion

    – that makes you sound like a voice of bipartisan reason

    – that guides you in your choice of words and friends

    – that guides you in your steps from Hawaii to Capitol Hill

    – that dictates your political moves in keeping with the political climate

    the list goes on.

    And I also think it is interesting and positive that he is the son of an immigrant. While he is considered an African-American, he is not a descendant of black American slaves, but of a white American and a Kenyan. This enables him to be more easily claimed by all Americans.

  3. Tanu said, on December 9, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    That’s right. He is using the right people.

    I am sure there are people like him out there who are ashamed of being half black, Indian, Latino or whatever other minorities there are in America (writing from Australia) and Obama would really be a good example for them.

    One thing about The Speech that struck me was when he said: “…a black boy is not called white because he’s got a book…” or something to that effect.

    A lot of immigrants face that: should they accept some party of the mainstream culture, suddenly they are being surrounded by cries of “oh man! there she goes… trying to be white.”

    He is making a stand saying,you can be successful, you can be educated and you can still identify with a minority that may not be defined by the above qualities.

    Anyway, I would like to think he is a phenomenon in America and not one of a kind. Good Luck!

  4. Tanu said, on December 9, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    ***I am sure there are people like him out there who are ashamed of being half black, Indian, Latino or whatever other minorities there are in America (writing from Australia) and Obama would really be a good example for them.***

    I am sure there are people like him out there who are ****HOWEVER, UNLIKE HIM,**** ashamed of being half black, Indian, Latino or whatever other minorities there are in America (writing from Australia) and Obama would really be a good example for them


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: