More on Mr. Obama – Part One: A Response to IMHO

Sean over at IMHO has chosen to write a response to my comments concerning Mr. Obama’s speech.

To begin with: Welcome Back!

After the election I had beleived this blog had taken an extended leave of hiatus, so I was happy to see that its back in action. Even though we often have different political positions, I enjoy the discussion and the mosiac of Bdian political discourse that is evolving on the Bdian blogosphere.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

In regards to the questions that are contained within his post and related poll, these are my answers:

I believe that Mr. Barack Obama will win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

I believe that Mr. John McCain will win the 2008 US Presidential election.

On the related front, I believe that Mr. Obama will choose Mr. John Edwards as his running mate, and that Mr. McCain will select Ms. Condeleeza Rice as his running mate.

All of the above are my own personal predicitions based on my reading of the current situation in the US. I may very likely be totally wrong. Predictions are like that; just look at our best attempts at predicting weather – getting better, but still hardly perfect. Closer to the date it will be easier to make a more realistic prediction.

I should state here that while I am supporting the Socialist Party of the USA’s Presidential candidates, I realise they are quite likely not going to win. I am far from a supporter of the Republican Party or Mr. McCain for that matter, but I do honestly believe at the moment that he will be the next President, even though I would much rather see a Democratic Party President, be it Mr. Obama or Ms. Clinton as a ‘lesser evil.’

Response to IMHO

Now, in particular response to Sean’s comments directed towards me, I’ld like to respond here (I have trouble accessing his site on a regular basis, so choose to respond here instead).

Sean states that I am ‘…criticising someone and their intentions without knowing them. If someone says something to me that I do not know I have to take them at the value of what they say as I have no other basis to go on, except for possible future or past actions. Johnny fails to see that the flaw in his argument is that he has no basis to believe that Obama isn’t sincere about what he says and assumes that he is only pandering to White America.’

1) Even if someone speaks on an issue that one has no knowledge of one still has ones critical reasoning faculties and should be able to reason whether or not what the person is stating is logical or not; beyond that one also – at least in our society – has the ability to seek out information relating to the issue in order to allow oneself to make a more educated judgement on the issue in question.

2) Aldous Huxley, in the foreword to his book ‘Brave New World Revisited’ wrote that:

‘However elegant and memorable, brevity can never, in the nature of things, do justice to all the facts of a complex situation. On such a theme one can be brief by omission and simplification. Omission and simplification help us to understand – but help us, in many cases, to understand the wrong thing; for our comprehension may be only of the abbreviator’s neatly formulated notions, not of the vast ramifying reality from which these notions have been so arbitrarily abstracted.

But life is short and information endless: nobody has time for everything. In practice we are generally forced to choose between an unduly brief exposition and no exposition at all. Abbreviation is a neccessary evil and the abbreviator’s business is to make the best of a job which, though intrinsically bad, is still better than nothing.’

My point in quoting the above is to emphasise that for the sake of brevity it is not always possible to explore in depth in this format, especially with our increasingly short-attention span society – a by product of our mass consumerist instant gratification lotus eating socioeconomy, to fully explore the full nature of information and argument in question. One of the beauties of the blog format however, as well as interblog discourse, is the ability to continue the conversation, to expand on the initial argument, and as such more fully understand the situation. Hopefully this thread will allow us to do just that, and get to a better understanding of why I am not supporting Mr. Obama, or singing hallealujah in regards to his wonderful rhetoric of a speech ‘A More Perfect Union.’

3) My comments on Mr. Obama are actually based on my reading of his book ‘The Audacity of Hope,’ readings of various speeches/essays of his for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Wilson Center, as well as a review of his biography as a whole. I’ll admit that I have not read any of these in depth. Anyone who has visited me at home will be aware of the number of books and other papers scattered about, divided into piles of what I want to read and what I feel I need to read, along with my two jobs and various positions, will know I don’t have time to dedicate to in-depth reviews of someone who I already (based on the mass media and by virtue of his running as a Democrat) view as not substantially different than any of the other major contenders in the US 2008 Presidential race.

4) While Sean may be justified in saying that I ‘…have no basis to believe that Obama isn’t sincere about what he says…’ what he fails to realise is that conversely he has no basis to believe that Mr. Obama is being sincere in what he says. I am basing my belief that to a large degree Mr. Obama, whether consciously or not, is pandering to White America based on the very real fact that White America continues to be endemically racist. This is not to say that there are active mass KKK chapters in the USA; that form of overt racism is largely extinct (not completely though…) in the USA, and this is itself a victory. But institutional and societal ‘colourblind’ racism continues to be dominant. If Mr. Obama wishes to be elected he needs to ensure White America that he is a Black that won’t touch on the deeper social and institutional racism that thrives in the modern USA, one that isn’t ‘scary’ or ‘angry’ like Reverend Wright. Quite frankly, he has to ‘not scare’ the Whites.

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3 thoughts on “More on Mr. Obama – Part One: A Response to IMHO

  1. Hey Jonny,
    Yeah I took a brief hiatus from blogging, partly due to a need to recharge politically and mostly due to work and family commitments. Needless to say that I’m getting back into it as, I’m sure you’ve found as well, it’s theraputic in small doses. 🙂

    I think I will have to respond with Obama’s intentions as, “We are but two sides of a coin and history will have the ultimate knowledge of the toss”.

    Regarding the rest, do I think that there is racism still in the US? Yup, unfortunante but true.

    That being said, I also believe that many in the US simply don’t give a crap as to what colour people are. I also don’t believe that institutional racism exist everywhere in the US either. Again I don’t subscribe to the notion of making a broad sweep to generalise an entire race within a certain country as “racist”. I feel that in itself is more detrimental to the ultimate goal of bringing the races together.

    What I would like to see if Obama be the catalyst to help further rid racism as well as be a a bit of a model to how politicians should act, both here and in the US. A lot to ask for but it would be nice.

  2. Hi Sean,

    As I said, welcome back to the Bdian blogosphere, and yes, it does have its theraputic purposes.

    This post was supposed to have been followed up with a thorough critique of the speech itself. I’m still typing it, and it will be up shortly. Hopefully it will aid in the discussion.

  3. Pingback: More on Mr. Obama – Part Two: A Critique of ‘A More Perfect Union’ « "Catch a fire"

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