Generally I sit out on political discussions. More than sex but less than religion, I find a lengthy discussion of politics to be the fastest and most iron-clad way to polarize a group of people and ruin a perfectly enjoyable evening. But lately most of my friends are compulsive about the discussing the topic, maybe its the excitement of the not-soon-enough 2008 de-Bushing.
There are many contenders for 2008 and many of those I know nothing about. With my Barnes & Noble gift card burning a hole in my wallet since December, I decided to pick up this book and explore Barack Obama. About 100% of my friends have gone ga-ga over him, not to say they would cast a vote in his direction, rather they are intrigued by what he has to say.
Most people can't say his first name without his last, its all strung together into a catchy brand that easily rolls off the tongue. Catchy, so much so that of all the contenders, I hear Barackobama's name the most. Or I remember it the most.
First off, I liked the book. I liked what Barackobama had to say. He is a eloquent writer, obviously intelligent, cautious, witty and often self-effacing. I liked the way he circumnavigated many issues - quietly, inspecting all angles, then crafted a particular stance but acknowledged that his stance was not without fault and did not stand in isolation.
Does that mean I would vote for him should he throw his exotic name into the ring for President. No, it doesnt. Does it mean that I will pay closer attention to what he has to say in the future? Sure I will and I'm certain that was the goal of publishing Audacity of Hope
Critics of the book and of Barackobama himself constantly mention that his ideas are good but he has no plan or path of how to achieve them. I think that's arguable. Sure, implementation of a plan is what matters but noone should expect to get that from a 360-page book more intended to be an introduction rather than a point-by-point dissertation on policy implementation. Moreover, I've heard him speak and I think he does have a plan, not one that is nailed down at every step but still an inception and direction that will keep me listening.
The other criticism I hear is that he has little experience. Sure, he is junior but I submit this question in rebuttal and with the goal of keeping my own mind open until I have more information. How many times have you cast a vote for "experienced" people only to be disappointed in the outcome?
I tell myself not be so quick to assume that experience dictates a favorable outcome, particularly when I already have that experiential knowledge under my belt more times than I care to remember.
The only thing that made me pause a bit was that he admitted he was not in favor of gay marriage but later that he was in favor of same-sex civil unions and equal rights for the G&L community. Maybe I misread or misinterpreted or lost a timeline detail in what he wrote but this sounded a bit self-conflicting to me.
I hope he does throw his name into the ring, not so much that I would want him as President, I'm still learning about him, rather that as a man from a mostly single-parent, multi-racial, multi-spritual background, it would speak volumes that he can and would be able to do so.
(Ironically as I finishing writing this I caught a blip on CNN that he is closer to joining the race)
Labels: Book, Politics