Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Coming Out as a Barak Obama Convert


I've become an Obama convert.

Katha Politt's great piece in her The Nation blog articulates much of what I feel. She makes a great point about how, on domestic issues, Obama and Hillary are similar. But...

...on foreign policy Obama seems more enlightened, as in less bellicose. Maybe Hillary Clinton's refusal to say her Iraq vote was wrong shows that she has neo-con sympathies; maybe she simply believes that any admission of error would tar her as weak. But we already have a warlike president who refuses to admit making mistakes, and look how that's turned out. The election of Barack Obama would send a signal to the world that the United States is taking a different tack.

She also is helping me to embrace, rather than cynically reject, how Obama makes me feel:

I usually resist words like "hope" and "change." But . . . let's go with the charismatic candidate this time. Let's go with the candidate voters feel some passion about. Let's say goodbye to the Clintons and have some new people make history.

My Republican brother-in-law said he might even vote for Obama. I do think Obama has a better chance of winning a national election--not because Hillary's a woman, but because (warranted or not), she is seen as a divisive figure.

Obama might just bring us back together after the horrible tearing-apart of these past eight years.

I've been doing some searching of Obama's position on queer rights. As an Illinois senator, he sponsored legislation in Illinois that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

And when he was criticized for planning a campaign event with a preacher (Reverend McClurkin) who claims to be a "former homosexual cured by prayer," Obama said:

I strongly believe that African Americans and the gay community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin’s views and will continue to fight for these rights as president of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division.

Obama disagreed with McClurkin's views on gay issues; however, instead of silencing McClurkin, Obama added an openly gay minister to the slated events.

I respect that because trying to silence people is not the path toward change. (Ever hear of backlash? It's a result of attempting to shut the door.)

Instead, bring in love and dialogue. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
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