What I Like About Obama
I interrupt my Obama bashing to note the postives I find in his candidacy. He constantly emphasizes that government shouldn't be the answer to all of our problems, but neither should it be unfair. Our govenment is of the people and should be for the people. Responsible government can be a powerful force for good. That belief is what drove me to drop the charade that I am not a Democrat. Perhaps I take for granted that sentiment and its relation to the Democratic Party, but if that isn't something that differentiates the Democratic Party then it's great the we have someone like Obama championing that idea.
Second, in his latest book he talks about the importance of empathy. I think that's important too. My political philosophy is very much aligned with that of John Rawls' updated "Theory of Justice" and the whole "veil of ignorance" concept. Not only does this apply to social/economic situations, but it also applies to the beliefs of different people. I have strong views that may not be shared by everyone and its important to approach problems with others' views in mind. I don't mind partisan views and debates, but its unfortunate if after strong passionate debates we cannot remain cordial or even friends with our opponents. If this seems like a novel idea, then we need to have Barack Obama running and championing this common sense idea.
Third, at the danger of having a Joe Biden moment, I think it is great that a black man can be on the verge of the presidency. Even if he doesn't win, he's proof that a person of color can make it on any level. Growing up as a minority myself, I was told that I wasn't smart enough or good enough. Unfortunately, there wasn't always prominent contemporary heroes to look up to beyond my parents in which to challenge the negative stereotypes. Having Barack Obama, along with Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton in the top five in the Democratic running is something I find extremely inspiring because it gives the finger to old stereotypes.
Finally, though I don't think hope in and of itself will solve problems, its nice to believe in something. These days it is way to easy to get disheartened or frustrated and a little hope isn't such a bad thing.
I will be critiquing Obama down the road--after all, I do support another candidate--but that shouldn't be taken as a lack of respect and admiration. Nor should it ever diminish the postive aspects he brings to this race.