Barak Obama: Judging Him by His Critics

I try not to feel too strongly about any one political candidate. To be honest I try to fight the urge toward cynicism that would leave me hopeless and embittered towards any candidate. I generally think that if they've made it far enough to be considered for presidency, then they must have played the political game of compromise and have stabbed someone or many someones in the back. But there's always hope that a candidate might have stumbled into the race, slipping through the fingers of corruption, making it there without giving in to the conventional methods of politics (namely: lying and scheming).

When it comes to Barak Obama, I am fighting the temptation to be a full supporter. I am tempted to hope that he might not be an ordinary politician. But what are the chances of that?

I am not convinced by his speeches (though I think they are often very smart) or his slogans. I am not convinced by his call to change (because I am not convinced that any one politician can change anything in one or two terms of office...). I am not even convinced by his background (though it is encouraging that the man was once a community organizer, he might as well have been a civil activist and that's good if you ask me). What convinces me more and more are his critics.

Every time I hear someone speak up against him, which has become more and more often since I moved home from college, I find myself strongly disagreeing with their reasoning. I am always open to hear critiques of any candidate (my cynical side loves to break down and reduce every candidate into a puppet of the system) but lately every critique I have heard about Obama has left me either thinking, "well, that's not a bad thing" or "that's just not true."

Two examples from yesterday: I was having a political conversation here at the church (never a good idea... but thank God this one was a good one) and the person with whom I was talking said they worried about Obama because he was going to socialize health care and make all the "illlegals" legal. Now, of course we both understood that Obama doesn't mean that every single illegal immigrant in the States is just going to be handed citizenship. So, with this in mind, my thought was, "well, that's not a bad thing." I have recently (ever since I wrote my senior thesis on the subject) become an advocate for justice at the border. I think there are far too many people here that should be legal but are not. I think there is far to much hostility and racism toward Mexicans in the U.S. and this is related to the immigration laws. I think we need to take a step in the right direction.

Another example was last night. A friend of the family came over and sat down and we started to talk when John McCain came on the TV. our friend swiftly commented, "that man had better become president." At that I realized that he had a strong opinion and that we probably shouldn't talk about it but then he proceeded to ask me if I was going t vote. "yes," I replied, trying not to nudge the conversation. Then he said, something to the effect of "it will be so bad if Barak Obama became president." As we talked more, he began to tell me how Barak Obama was not a Christian (which I believe he is) and that he was going to ruin the country. My thought was "that's just not true."

It's everyone from my friend at church to my friend from last night to the Fox News station. Every time I hear a critique of Obama, it either has nothing to do with his stance on issues or his plans for the future (I think I will go crazy if one more person discredits him using Jeremiah Wright's name), it's just not true, or it's actually not a bad thing. Don't take this as a reason to stop reading my blog... I am still not totally convinced that Obama is the best thing since sliced bread. I just haven't found very many reasons for me not to like him, other than the same reasons I am skeptical about any candidate. Overall, Obama is unpredictable. I don't know what he'll actually do when he's in office. But McCain is very predictable... and I don't like what i am predicting.