Presidential Politics

It seems like the campaign for president has been going on forever. Today, I finally made up my mind. I decided I’m ready for a woman president. I’m not even bothered that this means she would follow her husband in that role. She is bright, articulate, and a lawyer in her own right.

But I don’t mean who you think I mean.

I’m starting the Michelle Obama ’16 campaign.

I’m flipping channels this afternoon, and she totally captured me, on tape delay from a campaign rally last Thursday in Delaware. Michelle is the one who finally clinched what my heart kept whispering. I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States.

Don’t you want a president, she asked, who knows what it is like to live and work among the poor?
Don’t you want a president, she asked, who knows what it is like in Kenya, not because he read it in a policy briefing, but because his grandmother still lives in a village there?

I found myself saying yes to my television.

Our current president, she said, first got us into a war we shouldn’t be in. And then, she said, he didn’t ask us to do anything. No sacrifice. No rationing. Not even darning socks. All our current president asks us, she said, is to spend more money and consume. Don’t you want a different kind of president?

And I’m saying YES to my television.

Don’t you get all excited, she said. Because the people there were reacting just like me. Don’t you get all excited, she said, because when my husband sits in the oval office, he’s going to ask you to step up to the plate. He’s going to ask you to work. It’s going to be hard. We are going to change the way things are done, and you are going to have to do more than shop to change our nation. We haven’t had a president like this in my lifetime, she said. But we need it. And the question is not, she said, it is not if my husband is ready for the job. He’s ready. The question is, she said, if YOU are ready for my husband to be president. ‘Cause we got work to do.

And I’m saying, you sign me up, girl! to my television, on a Saturday afternoon, in gray and rainy Oregon.

In 2000, I really might have voted for McCain. Not this year. I’ve found myself asking, “What really are the best reasons to vote for Hilary Clinton?” And the answers I come up with–she’s competent, she’s got connections, she’s well positioned–are far outweighed by my questions about her character and outshined by Obama’s ability to say things that I have never heard a politician say except in speeches in the history books.

I’m ready for a woman president. Just not this year.

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12 thoughts on “Presidential Politics

  1. I’ve been waiting to hear someone say that there are sacrifices to be made at home if we’re going to wage war abroad. The Shopping For America campaign was and is just so offensive to me.

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  2. As a young adult in the 1960’s I was enthralled with John F. Kennedy. My generation was tired of Eisenhower politics and sensed change in the air. John Kennedy gave voice to that desire for change. He spoke our language. Our idealism was eloquently framed in his speeches. His lovely wife was our proclamation that husband and wife could be a formidable force in the white house. Many of us were devastated when Kennedy was assainated; our hopes were dashed. It wasn’t until many years later that I began to understand that Kennedy was ill-equiped for the role he assumed as president.
    I have to admit that Obama stirs some of my old passionate idealism. I like him. However, I’m not at all convinced he can govern our country wisely. I’m very concerned about the type of people he will nominate for the supreme court. His stand on the value of human life scares me. I’m praying for wisdom. This is going to be a hard election for me.

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  3. I am not concerned about who Barack Obama might eventually nominate to the Supreme Court. I am concerned with the here and now, and here and now, our country is at war. We have plenty of already LIVING human beings dying. That is a reality check I think those that consider themselves Christians need to recognize today. Obama is certainly concerned with the value of human life, in that he wants to end America’s involvement in Iraq. The 10 Commandments are plain and clear: Thou Shall Not Kill. It doesn’t not say “Thou Shall Not Kill unless the President of the United States says it’s okay.” Remember this when you vote on the value of human life.

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  4. Jo, your reflections comparing Obama to Kennedy have caused a lot of thinking on my part. Thank you. And Laurie, I also agree with you that the war/defense/international relations are also life issues. Thanks all!

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  5. Gregg, thanks for the thoughts. I read your post last night and after reflecting on it for a while I got up this morning and responded to it on my own blog. I quoted you and some of your comments a little, I hope that’s ok!

    Good discussion.

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  6. Barack and Michelle Obama both speak very well. But shouldn’t we look deeper than that? What Obama stands for is evil – war, abortion, and the death penalty. He talks about change, but has never stood for anything that challenged the establishment.

    Don’t be fooled by high-sounding rhetoric. Even the Devil quotes scripture. Obama has voted for Iraq War funding (although he promised to vote against it when he ran for Senate – but lying politicians are nothing new) and states he may keep U.S. troops in Iraq throughout his term if elected President. His official campaign position is for an even larger military budget and increasing the size of the armed forces.

    One would think Quakers would look more deeply than speeches. But it seems not.

    Vote for Joe Schriner.

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  7. Bill, thanks! Your comment is sparking another post in my mind. I’m not just fooled by rhetoric, and I’m under no illusion that Obama has serious policy stands which I am against. I will look at your link to Joe Schriner. The post that is forming is to wrestle with what our responsibility is as we vote: to find a candidate who is as close as possible to what we believe, regardless of their chance to win, or to find a “compromise” candidate who could.

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  8. It’s one thing to support a candidate who represents a major step forward in some areas, but lags on other areas. But it’s quite another to support one that does not represent a major step forward in any area, and is pretty much diametrically opposed to Friends’ testimonies. The latter is what you and so many other Friends are doing. It’s come to a sad state when even most Quakers will not stand up for the peace testimony but gush about candidates who stand for permanent war.

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