18 January 2007

Hero Worship

I admit that when it comes to people -- especially people in politics -- I am a skeptic, if not a full-blown cynic. I have been burned before by those who showed promise but failed to follow through. I was the ten year-old who begged her parents to let her stay up to hear the 1988 presidential election results and danced in her pajamas in the kitchen when it was announced that George H.W. Bush had won. I don’t remember following the election closely, but I do remember hearing about it from my parents, so I think I was glad that “our” team had won. I did vote for George W. Bush in 2000, a decision that haunts me to this day. So my relationship with people in politics usually involves my being disappointed or becoming disillusioned. Perhaps this is because I expect too much, or see politics as a dirty business in which power more often than not corrupts those who have been given it. Either way, I don’t like to get my hopes up around election times.

Which brings me to Barack Obama. I was very impressed with his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and further articles I read about him did little change my initial impression. I haven’t followed his career in the Senate vote-by-vote, but I have kept track of him and his ideas and views. I liked what I heard. Finally, after seeing him on several shows promoting his book The Audacity of Hope, and with the persistent possibility of his candidacy for president, I decided to pick it up and read it. I wanted to see what he had to say for his time in the Senate and for his hopes for the United States. What I found was a lot of common sense. I find his writing to be very honest and polite. He registers dislike, sometimes hearty dislike, for the current Administration’s policies and for major tenets of the Republican platform without being rude or launching personal attacks against the major players. He is not above complimenting them on doing something right. He admits to problems in the Democratic Party’s platform and policies, as well. I don’t always agree with his prescriptions for issues, but I find his arguments well thought out and logical. And a majority of the time, I do agree with him.

What I like most is his ability to engender hope and possibility. Far too often, from either side of the U.S. political spectrum, we hear gloom and doom, either/or thinking that, for at least the past decade, has not helped this country in the slightest. Regardless of what side of the aisle you are on, what party (if any) you adhere to, or what direction you think the nation should go in, read his book The Audacity of Hope. I don’t care if you end up disliking the man more than when you started the book, but the odds of him being a presidential candidate are high and you, as a citizen, need to know what the candidates are saying. This is what Senator Obama is saying about himself and about where he thinks the country needs to be going. And I like what he is saying.

6 comments:

Esperanza said...

I haven't read the book, but I did read a book review on it, and it did pique my interest...do you think he has enough pull to get any where in an election?

Scully said...

My semi-educated guess, E, would be that he ends up as the V-P candidate for either Clinton or Edwards, with the hope that he keeps his popularity enough to run after his term(s) as V-P. But I could be wrong.

Katie said...

I've been very interested in readin this. Maybe after this semester of terror is over I'll give it a try.

aquamarine said...

I think I saw an interview with him and his wife on Oprah the other day!

panini said...

I second that with reading Hillary's books--or at least one of them "Living History." She amazes me and a lot of my appreciation for her has come from being willing to listen to what she says and what she's working for (rather than the general hate speech crap). I was so excited to see she'd formed her committee this weekend. Thanks for recommending the Obama book--I want to read it. Wouldn't it be great to have a Clinton/Obama ticket--ahhh. ;)

Esperanza said...

Maybe Obama, but no Hillary for me! ;)