More politics

If only Obama were as ‘progressive’ as The New Yorker drew him …

I’m still trying to think of good reasons to vote for Barack Obama. He is a brother, after all, and in any situation I always try to give the brother a break. That’s my bias, but for me to vote for him because he’s black makes no more sense to me than not to vote for him because he’s black. Clarence Thomas is black, too.

I think Obama and I could probably get along personally, man-to-man, and that counts for something with me, but there are a lot of people—some of them friends of mine—I like personally that I wouldn’t want running anything important.

Still, although Obama’s liberal and all, and I’ve heard him referred to as “progressive,” I think he’s fairly mild, or at least he comes off that way in the media, which I suppose is deliberate. I know he can’t do squat unless he gets elected, but I’m more than tired of candidates afraid to take any extreme position for fear of scaring or offending some people. Maybe he’s genuinely mild and mostly centrist, but that’s no better as far as I’m concerned and in some ways is even worse.

One of the biggest strikes against Obama in my book is that he’s a Chicago politician. I suppose it’s possible for a politician to come through the Chicago machine with intact principles and clean hands. It must be, mustn’t it? Harold Washington, who was elected mayor twice in the 1980s, seemed to be a good guy, but I can’t think of any others.

To be a successful politician in Chicago takes a certain willingness to go along with the Chicago Democratic organization (don’t make no waves, don’t back no losers), which has long been as corrupt and seamy as any bunch of sleazebags anywhere.

Maybe Obama is the exception. I hope so, but I suspect that a similar willingness to avoid making waves is necessary for the endorsement of the Democratic Party nationally, which is fundamentally unprincipled and only desperate to win. After all, the Democrats caved in Florida in 2000 and sat around sucking their thumbs after the 2004 shenanigans in Ohio, so I don’t expect much from them or their candidates.

At this point, I’m suspicious of anybody with the approval of either the Democratic or Republican Party.

The cover of the July 21 issue of The New Yorker depicted Obama and his wife, Michelle, doing a fist bump with the U.S. flag burning in the fireplace. Barack was wearing vaguely Arab garb, and Michelle was toting an automatic weapon. If I thought Obama was even nearly that radical, he could count on my vote, but I don’t think he is.

I’ve recently—in the last 10 minutes—checked out Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate for president. She talks about the mass disenfranchisement of black voters and the risks of electronic voting, and not long ago she spoke at a rally to free Mumia Abu-Jamal. That’s progressive.