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Entries in barack obama (5)


President-Elect Obama is Smokin'

"It is still okay to discriminate against one group of Americans. This discrimination is not only legal, it is encouraged. You see members of this oppressed minority huddled outside in rain and snow, forbidden to seek refuge. No one feels sorry for them. And yet we may have just elected one of these pariahs as president" Michael Kinsley - Michael Kinsley on Obama the Likely Smoker - washingtonpost.com.
The above words from the pen of Michael Kinsley have started quite the debate on a site I frequent about whether or not it really is okay for our new President, a man who ran a campaign based on hope and change, to be a smoker. Well, I for one say yes, many others disagree, but I guess it is subjective, or is it? Smoking is not illegal in this country, although as a smoker I sometimes feel like it is rapidly approaching that status, as we smokers are sent outdoors in every possible attempt to prevent non-smokers from encountering one of us dirty sinners. Nonetheless, try as they might, the anti-smoking contingent have not yet managed to make smoking illegal, and for all of our sakes I hope they never do. Now, those of you who do not smoke are probably asking how keeping smioking legal could possibly be of benefit to you, well, it's simple really. As long as smoking is legal in this country, it's simply one more freedom that the government has been able to infringe upon. After all, after smoking becomes illegal, the crusade will move on to the next social evil, who knows what that will be? They've tried to ban alcohol before, and I think we all know how that turned out. A lot of people talk about Barack Obama having a responsibility as a role model, and how his smoking would make the children of this country think that it's okay to smoke. Well, I highly doubt that, but to tell you the truth,I would rather that my children smoke than turn into the oversexed, drug addled, drunken buffoons that grace the walls of many tween bedrooms. In fact, I find it terribly amusing that as the daughters of this country become sexualized to a degree never before seen that we are so concerned about one of the oldest forms of rebellion this nation's teens have. I guess that this truly is a subjective argument, those of us who smoke could generally care less whether anyone else smokes or doesn't. Some non-smokers don't really care so long as those of us who do are respectful in the performance of our habit, and the militant anti-smokers, well, they just want smoking completely eliminated, as long as they can keep their booze. In the end, this is a silly argument, it's hard for me to believe that someone would be that upset to find out that the man they elected president is a smoker. Somehow I doubt that the GOP is focusing their efforts for 2010 on the fact that Barack Obama likes a Camel light before bed. I guess what I'm saying is that if President-Elect Obama needs a smoke, he can bum one from me anytime.
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Has the US become Post-Racial? 

The election of Barack Obama to the office of the presidency has many people talking about the end of racism in the United States, Dave Hill (a writer for the Britsh newspaper The Guardian doesn't think so, and I am forced to agree:

Hopes that Barack Obama's win means defeat for racism are both legitimate and naïve. Their legitimacy derives from the most basic observation of history: no "brown-eyed handsome man" of the type Chuck Berry described could have occupied the White House in the age when he wrote that piece of rock 'n' roll code. Their naivety lies in the exaggerated significance invested in stars - of politics or anything else – and assigned to the slow rise of a black middle class. Dave Hill: Obama and post-racial society | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

I think the most glaring example of this is the fact that Senator Obama's ascension to the presidency is not being hailed as the election of a Democrat, or as the election of a progressive, but as the election of a black man, and that is the single largest landmark event of the election. If we had moved into a post-race state of mind we would not have a laser-focus on the fact that the President-elect is a black man. I'm not attempting to imply that this is not an event of historic proportion, it is most  definitely the most historic election we have had in a very long time, but it does not equal out to the end of racism in this country. There are other signals as well, the defeat of a constitutional amendment in Colorado that would have outlawed Affirmative Action programs in the state. A post-racial society would not need these programs, because there wouldn't be any consideration of an individuals race in any situation. The continuation of systems that seek to level the playing field between the races spotlight the inherent status that race has in our society.

There is only one venue in our society that has become post-racial, where, on average, minorities are on equal footing with whites, and that my friends is sports. Minority athletes are the only group that earn at the same (if not an accelerated) pace as their white counterparts. I haven't checked,, but last I knew, the three highest paid players in the NBA, MLB and the NFL were all minorities (2 African-American and one Latino). In the NBA, there isn't a single white player in the top 10 highest paid players. While the election of Barack Obama certainly signals a watershed change in the relationship between blacks and whites in the US, it doesn't mean that anything has changed among the older generations of Americans who grew up in a segregated society. Senator Obama's election signals that racism is less prevalent amongst the younger generations in America, and that racism doesn't seem to be filtering down to the same degree as in the past, but it is certianly not gone, and as President-Elect Obama has said over and over again, the climb will be steep.


Sending a "Signal" to Washington

Isaac Moorehouse has made his intentions known, he is voting for Bob Barr:
I’m voting for Bob Barr. Not because I agree with all of his positions, not because I think he’s a great guy, not because I think he has a chance to win, and not because I think he would even make a good president. I’m voting for Barr to do what economists call “signaling”. That is, rather than allowing my vote to be swallowed up in a sea of votes for major party candidates, and to add myself to the numbers who are basically giving sanction to the anti-liberty positions of both major candidates, I want it to at least send a signal to those who analyze elections that there are some who value liberty and limited government. Western Standard -- Morehouse: I'm voting for Bob Barr.
The question for the rest of us stuck in the middle is whether we can live with another four to 8 years of the "lesser of two evils". I have long taken issue with both the Dems and the GOP, as neither aligns very well with my personal socio-political outlook, unfortunately, neither does the Libertarian party. Independent voters have a serious stake in this election and with most independents leaning towards Senator Obama, the signal has unfortunately become filled with static. Senator Obama has run his campaign on a platform of Hope and Change (although his traditionally Democratic views certainly signal little if nay change from that parties line), the question I am left with is what kind of change will we see if he is elected (and more importantly if the Dems. increase their congresisonal majority). I can't say that I am particularly confident that the change an Obama administration will bring will put this country back on the right path, however, I am convinced that a McCain administration would keep us moving down the wrong path we are already on. So what is a voter like myself to do? DO I swallow my discontent with the political system and cast a vote for Obama that is less about support for him and more about contempt for the current administration (and it's party) or do I cast a "signal" vote and hope that enough others join me that the political flare is actually seen? Unfortunately, the questions I have about the two major candidates cannot be answered during a campaign, only through an honest assessment of how they govern. Thus I am left with my conscience which tells me not to vote for the poltiical machine (Dem or GOP) that has gotten us to where we are and the knowledge that my single vote means next to nothing in the grand scheme of an election, and they wonder why there's so much voter apathy in this country.
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Daily Kos: Hypocrisy comes in all colors

I don't normally read the Daily Kos, there's nothing particularly wrong with the DK, I just tend to prefer to get my media from less biased sources (and no, that doesn't mean Fox News.) Today, while adding Newsmakers to my follow list on social|median (which is a great social news site for those of you who haven't tried it out yet) I came across a link to a DK article written by an Obama supporter who had stumbled upon a McCain/Palin meetup in a Tampa Bay-area Starbucks. I don't really want to get into the article itself in this post, as to be honest, it had nothing to do with why I'm writing this. No, it was the poll at the bottom of the page that got my blood a boilin'. I've brought it here, in all it's glory (as well as it's dubiousness). [caption id="attachment_747" align="aligncenter" width="329" caption="Daily Kos Political Poll"]Daily Kos Political Poll[/caption] I'm honestly not sure if should be offended by the options I am presented with, or the fact that anyone would vote on such a ridiculous, useless survey that simply reinforces negative stereotypes. This poll is shameful, I don't know if I can put it any other way without devolving into obscenities that I try to keep out of my posts. As I have tried to make it clear in my recent posts, I do not support either McCain or Obama (nor Barr, McKinney or anyone else at this point for that matter). I am not writing this article because it amkes McCain/Palin supporters look bad (which the Dail Kos article certainly does), nor to make Obama supporters look elitist and condescending (which the poll does without any help from me). The poll bothered me because it validates in Daily Kos readers all the qualities that the articles purports to display negatively on McCain supporters. This poll shows simply that DK readers (or at least a vast majority of them) are judgemental, ignorant, and very easy to sway. I know many, many intelligent, confident, assured, accepting individuals who support McCain (my father for one) and to assume that this small group from Tampa is representative of the larger makeup of McCain/Palin supporters is narrow-minded and honestly, naive. I am not sure who comes up with th polls that run on the Daily Kos, but as someone who takes this election and the issues our country faces very seriously, I am appalled by the utter hypocrisy and lack of responsibility that a poll like this shows. The odds on me reading the Daily Kos in the future, have suddely become very, very small.
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Barack and his "Typical white person" grandmother

The following is a response to a question on LinkedIn, I felt like reposting it here (yes, I wrote it). The questions was: "Barack says his racist grandmother is a "Typica white person". Is Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. therefore a typical black pastor?
Are Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell and Ted Haggard "typical" white pastors? Typical people of any race are representative only of their own education and experience. Barack Obama's white grandmother is from Kansas and grew up during a time when were almost assuredly few if any black people in her community (Kansas is 89.1% white according to the 2007 census). Human beings in general fear that which they do not know, so am I surprised that she has been scared by black men, of course not. Am I surprised that she has used racial epithets, hell no. I am not an Obama supporter (nor do I support Clinton or McCain), however, I am a student of history and politics and historically and politically speaking, the typical white person is racist. Does that mean that all members of any race are racist? No. We live in a society where typical has almost no meaning, nothing is typical any more. Stereotypes are typical, not people. If "typical" white people are all racist then Obama would have had very little success in states like Iowa (94.6% white), Wisconsin (90% white), Colorado (90.1% white), Connecticut (84.6% white) or Idaho (95.6% white). Yet he won caucuses/primaries in all of these states. Here is what Obama said in reference to his grandmother: "The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know (pause) there's a reaction in her that doesn't go away and it comes out in the wrong way." To me this is a complete non-issue and I think that it has lowered the political discourse in the campaign right now to an unfortunate level.