Friday, August 29, 2008

on the nomination of barack obama

i was recently commenting on a friend's blog entry about barack obama's nomination by the democratic party, and found myself going on and on. apparently, this historic event has stirred up more in me than i allowed myself to verbalize. and since i've posted negatively about hillary clinton in this space (see here and here), i thought it only fair to share my reservations about obama, which i noted in that comment (see below). at a later date, i'll post my critique of john mccain, to complete the set.

i should say up front that there is a part of me that is thrilled by obama's nomination; that someone of african descent can run as a candidate for president without his race being the primary topic of discussion is measurable progress. i find much to appreciate in his call to serious-but-civil discourse on the critical challenges of our generation, his challenge to work together (even with our disagreements) by trying to find some middle ground, and his casting the vision for taking both individual responsibility and some responsibility for one another. still, i have serious reservations, as you'll see below.

please note: my goal here is not to endorse a candidate for president, but to interact in a thoughtful way with their candidacies and proposals. for the record, i disagree with both major candidates in significant ways, and i'm guessing many of you do too. for the less politically-inclined, especially those of you who frequent this space to see photos of my beautiful family or to hear what God is doing in our lives and ministry, feel free to skip this one...

i'm surprised you've only gotten one comment on this [blog post on the nomination of barack obama]. it is, indeed, a historic and amazing moment, and one worthy of reflection.

i will admit to being conflicted about the nomination of barack obama. on the one hand, i'm excited. what a life story this guy has -- bi-racial (though simply consider 'black' by most americans), raised by a single mom and grandmother, lived in hawaii and overseas, columbia- and harvard-educated, and against all odds, democratic party nominee. he's obviously an impressive fellow, but i'm especially fascinated by what his ascent says about the progress in race relations in the u.s., no matter how uneven and imperfect.

but i'm also concerned -- at his relative lack of experience at governing (especially at the national level) and exposure to international political realities, and at the media's seeming unwillingness to really discuss that in a somewhat objective, dispassionate way. it's either the right-wing fireballers calling him 'hussein' and insinuating that he's a muslim on the one hand, or msnbc's chris matthews has a tingle coming up his leg?!! what was that all about?
i don't doubt obama's intelligence. but i do doubt that his experience at this time makes him a strong candidate to be president. if colin powell were accepting the nomination, i'd breathe a lot easier. he's actually led a large organization before (albeit not as an elected official) and quite successfully.

and that's aside from the policy disagreements that i have with obama. his record on abortion notwithstanding (and that's a huge problem for me), i probably disagree with his approach to solving just about every major national problem. without picking a political fight with all of my berkeley friends, i am not a liberal and do not share the progressive 'faith' in government and government-run enterprises. obama and the democrats in general worry me with their reflex action of turning over so much of life to government leadership, intervention, and oversight.

so, there it is. am i inspired? almost every time i hear obama speak. am i worried that the bandwagon is going to lead to a morning-after case of buyer's regret? yes. do i think obama has the policy prescriptions to renew america's promise? sadly, no.

1 comment:

Jim Chleboun said...

As a person who votes consertive and does not have a problem with being labled a one issue voter I'm saddened by the choices we have for president. Mccain is too old and Obama feels government at a national level takes care of the ills of our country. Personally, I feel government is best run at the local level. My wife and I are confiednt that God is soverign and will work his will in whoever is the new president.