Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why I support Obama

The American electoral system is a little confounding. In the run up to the eagerly awaited abdication of George II -- towards the end of this year -- we already have a plethora of terms to confuse us – caucuses, delegates, super-delegates, super-Tuesday, primary, convention and the like. In reality the whole mechanism -- along with the rich electoral lexicon -- is a democratic formula to elect the new president of the US of A. As the battle for the hot-seat begins to get shrill and Democrats and Republicans prepare for a final face-off in the epic duet, I take my pick – Barack Obama.

If I had my druthers, I would pick Obama anytime. I like the man because he stands for the lowly as much as the strong. He is for hope as much as he practices realism. The youth love him. The liberal intellectuals admire him. The African Americans- who had for years been ignored by and consequently disinterested in the political process see a promise emerging. As Dave Linorff brilliantly argues in Counter Punch: Whatever his [Obama’s] personal politics, his candidacy is genuinely igniting a wave of passionate support across the nation among people -- particularly the young.

I root for Barack because amidst all the vainglory and money muscle, his is a message of conviction. As Hillary continues to take crucial leads among the mainstream, white-majority states, politically important Hispanic voters, policy wonks and the blue-collar Americans, Obama continues to be chivalrously relevant. Although the high octane speeches and corporate clout may make you wonder, ‘Can Barak Obama ever beat Hillary Clinton?’ Hillary -- of political acumen, of Capitol Hill expertise, of deep pockets, of spin doctors -- with everyone from New York Times to neocon writers endorsing her high-profile candidature – to Obama – a courageous, quintessential American who reminds you of the youthful exuberance of JFK. Though it looks like the biblical David versus Goliath, we remember Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David.

Obama is anti-war. He believes Saddam had no WMDs and the Bush invasion was a strategic blunder. No foreign policy simpleton, he advocates a gradual pull-out from Iraq. Obama told Dartmouth College late last year that it is important to tell the American people the truth. ‘Military commanders indicate that they can safely get combat troops out at the pace of one to two brigades a month. That is the quickest pace that we can do it safely. I have said I will begin immediately and we will do it as rapidly as we can.’ The world urgently needs such conciliatory voices.

The politically mature Clintons’, sensing that the Obama phenomenon is perhaps too strong to go away, recently launched a negative tirade against Barack. Obama kept his focus and refused to mud-sling. He continued to talk hope, counter lies with facts and challenge dissonance with unity. Mildly chaffing the political heavyweight, Obama quipped with his knee buckling smile intact, "Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything, and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page." Almost immediately the Hillary Camp pulled the negative ads. Time we require a transformational figure, as the head of the world’s most powerful state, rather than a divisive one.

Obama is for a better, cleaner, safer world. He is among the most passionate, compelling, knowledgable leaders with a commitment on clean fuel policy, emission norms and environment protection. He supports Al-Gore’s efforts on climate change. Barack lauded the Nobel peace prize 2007 to Gore. ‘By having the courage to challenge the skeptics in Washington and lead on the climate crisis facing our planet, Al Gore has advanced the cause of peace and richly deserves this reward,’ Obama wrote.

With little or no regard for the must-do's and must-have's in American politics today -- brash rhetoric, electoral frauds, Israel-appeasement, corporate bucks, lobbying, media trials and extreme stances, Barack stands out as an optimist. Rather than scare-mongering and threatening sovereign governments, Obama connects through dialogue and engagement. Quite unlike the ‘I-support-you-because-your-dad-is-rich’ culture, he believes in inclusiveness. Obama truly transcends political pettiness.

He is America’s choice for frankness and candor. For that, and for the fact that an underdog, a first time black senator, with no god-fathers in Washington DC, has the chutzpah to take on the high and mighty and face them in an intellectual, political and cultural battle of the century, I support Barack Hussein Obama.