March 19, 2008

I think I'm voting for Obama

I'm still wary of his policies. But yesterday, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, Obama spoke about race and class to Americans as though they were adults.

Obama gets a lot of flak for campaigning on a supposedly nebulous rhetoric of meaningless hope and dangerous bipartisanship. I think his speech yesterday should (not will, unfortunately) finally refute that criticism. Obama's hope and unity is much the same as King's was. From `I have a dream':

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

The hope is that, despite our conflicting interests, the emotional tension, and the deep-seated grudges, a real conversation, and the real understanding that comes with it, is still possible. Black and White, rich and poor, native-born and immigrant -- even progressive and conservative -- aren't so different that we can't live together as a community. To say that it's going to be awkward for a while is an understatement. (The dramatisation the Daily Show did last night was fantastic.) But we can, and should, still try.

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