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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama!

Excellent! That's how it was, Mimi! ;-)

We got up at O dark o'clock this morning. I actually woke up an hour earlier than necessary and so I had plenty of time to eat breakfast, which I'd planned on just bringing with me. We took the bus down to the Coliseum and met my friend Maria there.

Earl Blumenhaur spoke first, and gave great reasons why we need to have Obama as our next president. Then, introducing Obama, was Bill Richardson, giving his endorsement to Obama. He talked about Latino issues and African American issues, and Maria leaned over and said, they'd make a good pair for the presidential election. When Obama began speaking, I thought perhaps she'd called it and he was going to announce something! Of course, it's too early for that but they were awfully chummy. Except for their man-hugs which weren't all that convincing. ;-)

Obama spoke of the need for us to look for what's good and right in America. He spoke of not dividing us into groups, where it's the us vs. them mentality. To see that the Latino child, the black child, the child from Appalachia, they are all OUR children. We need to make them a priority and not just say, oh, those children can't learn, or that it's too bad for them that they're poor.

He pointed out many of the bad policy decisions that have been made in the last 8 years, and it was staggering to me to hear them all lumped together like that, the sheer number. No Child Left Behind. The war. Torture. Guantanamo Bay and Abu Graib. Wiretapping. The diminishing of our constitutional rights. And he said something I believe to be very true: that it is going to take bravery and a struggle to right all these wrongs.

I did not agree with everything he said. He talked about using our military wisely and I'm not sure what he means by that. When he spoke of needing to be prepared more than just having a military, I cheered, but he went on to talk about how we need to be prepared to use that military. I was thinking, it starts way before that, when we are choosing how we will deal with nations that we don't necessarily agree with.

He made the statement that he is not anti-capitalist, and I frowned. But he went on to say that when a CEO makes as much in 10 minutes as some make all year that this is WRONG, I cheered. That's certainly not the capitalism we know.

He also dissed the lobbies and stated that he did not take their money. I wondered: can this possibly be true? That he has accepted no gifts from special interests? I don't know the answer to that question.

He is not quite as progressive as I would like. But he is the best hope that we have for our country, I truly believe.

10 comments:

ElizO said...

I went to his campaign speech also, and I had the exact same thought about what a good ticket he and Bill Richardson would make. One thing that impressed me was the crowd. Sitting next to me were two white women in the 60s or so. In front of me was a row of African-American teenagers. Behind me were an elderly Asian woman and someone I guessed to be her daughter. Next to me was a white 40-something man, all by himself. For Portland, it was a wonderfully diverse crowd. I was truly impressed by his appeal to such a broad spectrum.

Mimi said...

Wow, that does sound good (and like I'd quibble on the same things) but then, there will never be a candidate that agrees with me 100%

Matt said...

I hate it when politicians hug.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rundown on the speech!

I'm not anti-capitalist either, but I'm anti-Big Capitalism. I also wish Obama were more progressive on some issues, but I think right now he's the best hope we've got.

Liz said...

I think he is very slick. Can we say "none of the above"? I am voting for Ron Paul if he makes it into the election.
Obama scares me because of the muslim thing. I believe him that he is not muslim BUT I do not trust that he can be truly objective either. He sort of reminds me of what is said about the antiChrist: it will be someone who is so nice, says such good things, talks about peace and seems like well, an angel of light. I don't truthfully know that he is that person, but there is something that makes me very nervous about him.

mariagwyn said...

Liz, I don't think I understand your comment. He has Muslims in his ancestry. He also has Christians. He calls himself a Christian. Does that not count? It is not clear to me why one 'genetic' faith necessarily outweighs another.

More important, it is not clear to me how one faith is necessarily more objective than another. We Christians have hardly been objective in our assessment of Islam, which like Christianity is far more diverse than we believe. Perhaps a U.S. president of Muslim descent will take some of the wind out of the sails of radical fundamentalist Muslims. Unfortunately, I think they share the same suspicions of conservative Christians, that his faith is somehow not real. I think they have more warrant for their suspicion. After all, in the eyes of radical Muslims he converted away from Islam to Christianity.

Liz said...

well, the muslim thing DOES matter when we are talking about the president. We are concerned about allegiance to our country and our countries best interests, not going soft on people who want to do away with us. While all religions are guilty of bad behavior, only Islam actually TEACHES in its holy documents "conversion through force and death for those who oppose Islam" I have no doubt that just like there are Christian pick and c choosers who like the label of Christian but don't really like all the moral edicts of the Bible, that there are Muslims just like that too. However, one could argue that if they pick and choose, then however they want to label themselves, they aren't really a Muslim but a follower of their own mishmash of what they choose to believe. I just think that because of his background, Obama lacks the ability to be truly objective. It could be, as it were, his Achilles heel, his fatal weakness. It doesn't mean he is not a nice man, it just means I don't want him running our country.

Liz said...

you know, this is probably why non native born people cannot be president: the fear of another allegiance, no matter what the official documents say. Its not "prejudice"...its being prudent and careful. Someone who has once followed a religion that has wiping out another country as a major goal probably should not be the leader of that other country. Ever. No matter how "nice" he is.

Elizabeth said...

Liz. Wow. This conversation is making me uncomfortable. I don't see that having a Muslim in one's family would make one unsuitable for the presidency. Rather, I think it's about time that we begin to follow our own separation of church and state laws, and not make being a Christian a litmus test for the presidency. There are good people, good leaders, in every major religion. Islam is not any more violent as a religion than Christianity has been. Christians have long used religion as a reason for violence, perhaps not as much right now but it does still go on. I am happy when I see a leader of any stripe who is truly concerned with issues of peace, in trying to create a world with less violence, not more. This is what I believe Obama is doing.

I am feeling the need to start thinking about racism on my blog. I am uncomfortable with the comments you've made because I think they are discriminatory to one kind of person for something that he did not choose. I hate to think of censorship, but I will certainly not have any qualms about proclaiming that this is not how I think and I believe your comments to be hurtful to a segment of society. Jesus preaches a gospel of love, not hate, and love is what I'm trying to do here.

That said, no person can be truly objective. I can't be, you can't be, Obama, Clinton, and McCain cannot be objective. Just isn't happening. But I like the priorities that Obama has put up. He best represents my priorities, as far as I can see right now.

mariagwyn said...

I think Liz is correct, that "allegiance" is certainly the concern behind foreign-born presidents. Whether this is fair or not is debatable.

However, Muslim scholars vigorously debate the Koranic teaching about forceful conversion, and many of them do not interpret it in the same way fundamentalist Muslims interpret the verse.

In addition, Christians have done their own creative interpretation of scripture allowing for the same kind of violence. After all, the Hebrew scriptures record the taking of the land of Israel as a virtual genocide, Christians talk about hating mother and brother and sister.... I suspect we all agree that these are horrific interpretations of our scriptures. But these are Christians doing the interpretations, lovers of Jesus. Likewise, it is Muslims who interpret the Koran as either physically militant or, just like Christians interpret the call to put on the "armor of God" as spiritual warfare, as spiritually militant. "Jihad" is a disciplined resistance to spiritual evil. The concern of course is what is defined as "spiritual evil." I just don't think we can assume that the only true Muslims are the ones that hate the U.S., any more than we can assume the only true Christians are the ones who advocate destroying anything non-Christian.

As for Obama, he has never been recorded as believing any of this. It is not clear that he was a believing Muslim of any kind before he became a Christian, so to decry his Muslim heritage is to decry the choice of his ancestors, not his own choice to be a Christian. It seems that we have to honor his choice in the same we have to honor virtually every named Christian in scripture, each of whom were Jews, and probably continued to think of themselves as Jews for much of their 'christian'lives.

SC