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A Question of Hope

By       Message John Kelley     Permalink
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I support  Barack Obama as the Democratic Party Candidate for President.  It is simply a question of leadership and the things it involves like integrity, common sense, a great empathy, statesmanship, firmness and yes, hope.Many of us lost hope for real change after men like Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and even Malcolm X were cut down.  Barack was seven at the time. Humphrey, McGovern, Mondale, not even Ted Kennedy had that almost magic quality to inspire people to participate in making a better world for themselves.  One futurist predicted the boomer generation would be passed over for leadership.  In some ways we were, Bill Clinton faced fierce opposition and George W. Bush represented the frat boy face of the sixties not its non-conformist side.  Obama though is 46 and of the next generation, a generation born and raised during that hopeful boomer period. In some ways his candidacy is a rebirth of that hope and the fulfillment of the promise that generation sought.  A multi-lingual and cultural upbringing gives him the kind of background and poise needed to turn around a war torn and environmentally threatened world along with the tattered American reputation and economy. We see a world starved for hope. In America, hopes for jobs, healthcare, homes, and educational opportunities are disappearing at an alarming rate.  It’s an America that has watched corrupt corporate chiefs get obscene salaries and huge tax breaks while working people lose ground every day. An America where even the middle class is starting to think maybe Clinton’s welfare reform disaster might affect them as they realize the ride on easy credit is over and they could be among the poor tomorrow. An America where we accept like sheep a military budget larger then all of the other countries in the world combined, the loss of privacy, torture and imprisonment with out trial or end and feel still even less secure. Think about it how important the words are that Hillary & Bill (and interesting enough right wing radio pundits) tell us to disregard, as naïve or just words.  Hope is a quality of leadership, a belief embodied in every one who is or wants to be an American, hope for a better life, if not for us for our children.  That is hope.  The explosion of Obama support as he travels across the country shows how disconnected Hillary and Republicans are from the widespread desperation that people feel about the future produced by the politics of fear.  When you don’t want people to hope for a better life, maybe even accept less without rebellion, you use fear. You try and distract them from the reality of their situation while you pick their pocket and take their rights.  Obama’s rise is based on a rejection of those politics.He engages people by challenging them to work together to rebuild America and says it can’t be done any other way, he is inclusive and he’s right.  That is what the Democratic Party is supposed to be about.  He is bringing huge numbers of new and previously disenchanted Democratic voters, and independents to the polls.  They see in him a change in direction from the back alley partisan politics of both the Clintons and the Republicans. Progressives have coalesced behind Obama because the message of Hope is in line with progressive views, that people are basically good and can work together to build a better world. Meanwhile Hillary’s cynical tone reminds people of the divisiveness the Clintons always seem to attract to them selves and worry it would return to derail the Democratic agenda under a Clinton presidency ending in the Democratic loss in 1994.  It’s said even Republicans are coming over to vote for Obama because they are assuming the Democrats will win in the fall no matter who the candidate is, and they hate the Clintons.  Others say they are coming over to vote for Clinton because they think John McCain can beat her.Mainstream media has reported their policies are virtually the same.  But there are major policy differences. Obama has committed to being out of Iraq in a year, while Clinton says she will begin to withdraw troops in a year. She touts a healthcare plan that mandates you sign up with an insurance company that should be called the insurance company profit guarantee act and will keep them entrenched in control of the system for the foreseeable future. It should be noted that she is the leading receiver of money from insurance and Wall Street interests. While Obama’s healthcare plan doesn’t cover everyone, it does offer the alternative of a government insurance plan that would likely bring about single payer care in the near future while it would be difficult to dig the private insurance companies out of the system once they gain the access that Hillary proposes through mandate.  In addition, Obama wants to lift the cap on Social Security contributions so that the rich would contribute the same portion of their salary as the rest of us, shoring up the system.  Hillary opposes such a move, but offers no alternative.The larger contrast is in delivery however, which is as different as night and day and is fueling Obama’s popularity among those who make their decision based on image.  Clinton emphasizes her ability to be tough with others, her experience and her ability to take a punch.  And that is her problem; it is a defensive, fear driven message that delivers very little hope and promises more partisan battles.  Obama on the other hand talks about abandoning the fear driven politics of both the Republicans and Clintons. While Obama does not promise an easy road, his message is as simple as honesty, inclusiveness and that by working together, we can solve our problems. Hilary says she has the solutions to give to us.  Liberals believe in doing it for you, Republicans believe in doing it to you and Obama offers a more progressive alternative of solving it together.   Obama projects a genuine progressive message of hope that resonates with the grass roots. Over 200 volunteers showed up the first night the Obama staff came to our town just from email blasts. Campaign organization tells a lot about a candidate’s ability. A local landlord for both saying it took four conversations with one person and 18 hours to get the Obama office lease done.  For Hilary’s it took 35 calls to five different people over 18 days to get completed. For too long the public has been lied to, exploited and forced to sit on the sidelines to watch partisan power plays by both parties while they suffer the consequences. In Obama they see the possibility; the hope to restore the principles they believe should be embodied in government. Of, by and for the people.Obama speaks to those people. He is able to communicate that he can understand their circumstances while Hilary saying similar words hasn’t been able to convey the same authenticity.  They just don’t believe she will bring about the radical change necessary or that she is sincere.  Radical change that is reflected in poll after poll on universal healthcare, limiting corporate control and ending the war show huge public support while the leaders of both parties have ignored them in favor of special interests.Clinton represents the controlling Liberal corporate pandering wing of the party and its high powered professional consultants.  Historically that wing of the party has always tried to keep the working class base from full participation, better to take care of them and let them propagate rather then let them participate.  She’d like you to forget that the NAFTA debacle, the start of renditions and a huge healthcare reform setback that all occurred on the Clinton watch.  Quite frankly, people just trust Obama more, something amazing after our current President.  As Clinton falls behind it seems she is proving those people right who say she is interested in power by any means.  Her campaign fights to reinstate delegates in Florida and Michigan, along with her expressed willingness to have the vote of the people overturned by the super delegates demonstrate that quite clearly. Her attacks have become more shrill and desperate sounding, which unfortunately for her will lose her even greater credibility with the voters at large.  It is self reinforcing with her own base that seems to reflect an underlying anger and an entitlement to the presidency just because she’s Hilary Clinton, just because she is a woman.  All of this says, she is missing a real understanding of how desperate for Hope the American people are.

 

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John Kelley is the Managing Editor of a monthly progressive newsmagazine, "We the People News", in Corpus Christi, Texas

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