Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin - Not the Republican Obama

The Blog World is filled with opinions and posts about Palin, some of which have crossed the line in personal attacks. Many people have taken a play from Palin and McCain on simply tearing people down as a way to avoid talking about what you offer. Other blogposts, like one at A Political Season, are just a glimpse into the misguided world of Republican dreaming. Palin is not the Republican Obama, and I shutter that someone might think that she is.

Identity Politics
Palin is using gender as her primary stump speech, looking to attract & excite like minded members of the Republican base. She understands her role clearly and has offered to play it well to politically advance. Many Republicans and Alaska natives tout her qualified success as timing and politically savvy decisions, approval that is linked directly to the individual gains resulting from the Oil Company benefits based on location.

Barack has never campaigned as a Black Man, although he recognizes that he is one. He has spent the last 2 years talking about everyday people and everyday issues, the ones that you see clearly as a community organizer - although most of us decide at some point we want to affect change in a different way. He has not excited and motivated the Democratic Base, so much as he has changed the Democratic base to include those who were not an active part of the process. He has reached out to people who's view, opinion, action and interest were never solicited seriously on a grassroots level.

Character Bashing
Palin took a play out of old politics, and walked in synch with McCain in working to market fear politics. They have not simply said we disagree with Obama's stances - they have told those who support him and endorse him - you're dillusioned and caught up in celebrity. You are a fanatic not based in reality. They have clearly articulated, " he has been nothing, has done nothing, has decided nothing, has mananaged nothing, and you are stupid for getting caught up in the hype."

On the flip side, Barack has talked about continuing the politics of what got us here in the first place. He has focused his attention on approaching the challenges within our society by the power of the people, not just his ideals. He has openly disagreed with McCain and said that McCain can't relate to everyday people. He has not said that McCain is a womanizer, Palin is a token, and anyone who supports them has lost their mind.

Motivation vs. Fear
Palin has implied that Barack didn't think her town was "cosmopolitan enough", ensuring that small town folks and even more important, small minded folks, get scared about race. She has not motivated and inspired, she has continued a message of fear. She could have easily said last night "be affraid, be very affraid. he is not like you at all. i represent you." With the diversity of a Starbucks experience, she will guarantee those who quietly fear differences and are uncomfortable about race - you'll never have to worry about that with me.

Meanwhile, Obama has given one of the most clear speeches about race in my lifetime. As a Black woman, it simply is what it is. I don't use it to dictate or justify who I am, nor do I avoid it or exploit. In our nation we have failed to mobilize a national dialog about race into anything more than scary definitions of Affirmative Action, piting people and interests against each other. The reality still stands clear, America has been built on the backs of a class of cultures, and we will not be healed overnight. Nor should we.

Proven and Tested
Palin has been asked to prove nothing. The media circuit of the right is touting McCain's judgement and selection. They are not educating people about her record, they are pitting her record against Barack's. People who said ready to lead on day 1, have now said she has ample time to learn and be taught at McCain's knees.

For 2 years Barack has been scrutinized, belittled, laughed at, reviewed, interviewed, rated, evaluated and more. This isn't an issue of "if Palin had been around for two years," the reality is that she will not have to prove herself in the same way. Any child born to a family of color within the last century has encountered one shared parental truth, "You MUST out perform racism, because it will always exist." From birth, we are taught that you must be better, work harder, dig deeper, be more resilient - not to win, but to even have the opportunity to compete.

In my house the debate will go something like this, "well his resume is weak, you have to admit that." My response will go something like this, "you have yet to review her resume, because the one liners about being a mayor and a govenor have been enough."

Meanwhile, she inherited half of her accomplishments in office, and hasn't been asked to account for not even knowing what the Vice President does - as expressed in her own words. She says, I'm a hard worker. Well, is that enough?

Following the Script
Palin is following McCain's Script and the desperation of the so called Religious Right.
Obama wrote his own script - and is paying dearly because of it.

When Obama gave one speech at a convention - he was paying his dues as a junior senator.
When Palin gave one speech at a convention - she became a national hero qualified for Vice President.

Collaboration across Party Lines
Palin has said that the do nothing legislature has failed America. These are the same people that any leader must work with and through to accomplish what needs to happen in our country. When she worked across party lines in her political career, it was an occassion not a signature style. She has argued herself that she will do whatever is necessary for what she believes is right. That gets her closer to her agenda, but it doesn't qualify as a life of working together for greater good.

Obama has demonstrated and stood on the basis of working across party lines. When he advocated and authored legislation about campaign finance reform, he didn't do it from the security of his party - he worked with other people to make it happen. He has been acknowledged time and time again for embracing this approach as the core of who he is, not just what he does. The Right has painted this as being naive, unseasoned, not ready. They'd rather go to war than have a conversation.

World View
The mis-steps will be countless on both sides when all is said and done. But for an advocate of War, proximity to Russia should not be a qualification for international affairs. What we know about Palin is not much in this area.

While you may disagree about the removal of troops, the approach to Israel, his tactics about Afghanistan, and the belief that the United States of America should be restored to a better standing with our world partners - you do know where he stands. And while he has created advisors, think tanks and running mates that have a longer track record in these areas - he does have a track record with his view - right or wrong.

McCain got caught - and as a result the same service provided as thousands of men and women - he has been touted as a National hero and the picture of patriotism. I respect his service, but that's it. His character is no more defined by that one act, than it should be defined by his angry rants, wife trade ups, or any other sole act. He selected ovaries who will learn at his side, but she has said little else, other than, "drill, baby drill" and "fight, baby fight."

Attack Politics
If she attacks - she's a self-described Pitbull.
If McCain attacks - he's a maverick.
If the Right attacks - they are rejuvenated.
If a Woman attacks - she's a feminist making history.
If a Black Republican attacks - they're on television as a scholar or party leader because there are so few.

If Obama attacks - he's an angry Black man.
If Biden attacks - he's belittling a woman.
If a Democrat attacks - they are misguided and part of the Obama cult.
If a Woman attacks - she's bitter that Hillary couldn't do it.
If a Black Democrat attacks - they are voting for Obama because he's Black. They don't know the issues, didn't make a choice, aren't using their voice. They're the non-hard working folks who always vote democratic.

Palin delivered a solid attack speech well. She's a pill and a pit, but Obama she is not. For the majority of Republican's that makes her amazing, exciting, and inspirational. For an independent, I wonder if it just increases the garabage you have to hear instead of real issues and real policies. But isn't that why McCain picked her after 8 years of Bush? Identity not issues, and the change that could give him the Whitehouse after all.

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