04 January 2008

Why It's Going to Be Obama

Despite the fact that only 227,000 people voted in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses last night -- oh, sure, record turnout, whatever, I can't get behind .07% of the population having any influence on who I get to vote for -- everyone is reading the tea leaves this morning. So I'll do it, too: Obama is going to win.

Not just the Democratic nomination, but the whole thing.

Here's why. People always say they want change, but they're deluded. Real change is scary, unpredictable, sometimes painful, and, this is the important part, almost impossible to achieve in our current political system. That's actually why it's set up the way it is; we're not supposed to be able to change things too quickly. (It's also why the Bush Administration has been aggressively asserting its right to broader Executive powers; if they played by the rules, they couldn't do stuff like warrantless phone taps.)

We all know, deep down, that whomever we elect is going to be playing by the same rules as always -- hopefully not by the expanded Bush rules, though I wouldn't put it past Giuliani -- and our best hope for significant change in the war in Iraq, or national health care, or global warming, is to let the system grind its way through a new set of priorities. Maybe in four years, or eight, things will be a little better and the United States can collectively look itself in the mirror again without hating itself.

But Obama. Now there's some real change, no matter how he governs. The combination of his youth, race, and relative inexperience in the entrenched Washington culture are, by definition, change. Yes, electing the first woman president would also be a big change, but it feels like that is canceled out by the fact that Hillary is a Clinton. Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton -- she'd do a decent job, but I think we're all tired of that crowd by now.

If we elect our first Black president, that's something to be proud of. It will no doubt help our image internationally, but within the United States, whether he makes civil rights a priority or not, a President Obama will change the way we view each other, and ourselves. We need that.

Iowa is practically an all-White state. I'm not as big on hope as some people, but the fact that so many of them chose a Black man as their first choice, is pretty damn heartening.



Blogger tammara said...

I agree. I especially like that you are willing to go out there and predict the winner right now. President Obama. Wait. I think I just got a little hopeful for the future of our country. WTH?

11:19 PM  

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