Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why I don't want Obama to win

Don't get me wrong. I think the guy is brilliant. He is insightful, courageous, funny, and inspirational. I think that he is a great leader and has the makings of a fantastic President. He has convinced us that despite America's divisive and racist history, it is possible for a Black man to transcend race and get people to believe. And in this month dedicated to celebrating black history, I know that somewhere Martin's soul is happy.

At any other point in history, I would have have been more pro-Obama than Oprah. At any other time, I would have joined the campaign and handed out buttons. At any other time, but now. I believe that Obama is running for president at the wrong time. And he has a very good chance of winning. But I do not want him to.

Is there a right time for a Black man to run for president? Yes. When the country is at peace. When the economy is good. When jobs are available to be had. When taxes are being invested in improving the infrastructure so that people are not afraid to drive over bridges across massive flowing rivers. When education and health care are more affordable. And when the distinction between immigration and illegal entry is not being deliberately blurred so as to treat all immigrants badly just because they happen to be black or brown.

I wish that these were the conditions under which Obama was running for the presidency. And no, I am not saying that I want him to have it easy. Of course not. Being president is a damn difficult job. Look how much George Bush has aged and he has spent less time actually on the job than most. The responsibilities of being President of the most powerful empire in the world are awesome. And yes I believe that Obama is up to the challenge. But I am not supporting him.

Why? Because I believe that the current administration must be held accountable for cleaning up its own mess. Hillary Clinton recently made the quip that it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and that it would take a Clinton to clean up after the second. It was probably her best moment and I won't be surprised if she wins the Democratic nomination. And in any other point in history, I might have considered voting for her. But not now.

I don't think that any Democrat should ever have to clean up after a Bush again. Republicans have to accept responsibility for the state of this country. We are undergoing an economic recession even though the media seem afraid to confirm this. While markets topple in far-flung countries whose economies are linked to ours, we go along pretending that everything is alright at home. While soldiers continue to die or be maimed for life in a war that few believe in, our media keep us more informed about Britney Spears. Daily more and more people find themselves homeless because of a housing market that exploited people's natural desire to own their own homes. Many Katrina victims are still unsettled, unhoused, uncompensated. Drugs continue to flow across the Rio Grande. Meth continues to destroy lives.

I do not believe that the Republicans really want to win the next presidential election. If they did, they would have found candidates far more qualified and attractive than Huckabee. Or McCain. To quote Jon McEnroe, they could not be serious. Don't believe me? Then explain to me why else Giuliani made such a half-assed attempt at running for presidency. Damn, he didn't even wait for the corpse of his campaign to be cold before rushing to throw in the towel.

My only explanation for the pitiful roster of options the Republicans have been able to cough up is that they do not really want to win. They do not want to have to make the types of unpopular decisions that will save this country. They do not want to tell us to band our bellies and grit our teeth because there will be tough times ahead. No, they want out. Let the Democrats do the dirty work, and get blamed and hated for it.

America feels to me to be on the brink of possible catastrophe. It's kind of like that satellite that is hurtling through space, silently screaming its way to earth, even as I type. We have no idea where it will land and what kind of damage it might do. But while it's still up in the sky, we'll all just go along merrily in denial, pretending that it is not there.

Well I am through pretending. I am afraid. I am afraid of an enemy that I do not understand, one whose nest we have stirred up and which I believe will one day retaliate. I am afraid of a future I cannot see. And I do not want the first presidency for a Black man (or a White woman for that matter) to end up coated with the grime of disaster.


N.Vasillis said...

Love your piece. I need your email address to give you an invite for the "In their shoes" challenge. Just email me. piperoliveravram at yahoo dot com


"B" said...

Wow, I hadn't thought of it this way but you are right. Smart piece.

By the way, found your blog from the TBR challenge website.