I’m an African-American who has been alive longer than the 42 years African-Americans have been relatively free in America. That would be 42 years of relative freedom from about 400 years of existence in America.
So, naturally I’m proud and entusiastic about an African-American that I could support being this close to the presidency. Just his being African-American doesn’t necessarily mean that I could support him. Had Obama been Powell, Rice, Harold Ford, or John Lewis, I’d be voting for someone else. But Obama is antiwar, intelligent, reflective, articulate, has roots in issues I think most important, and he’s run a brilliant campaign. Brilliant does not imply perfect, but he needed to run a brilliant campaign to defeat the Clintons, the most formidable opponent he’s going to face in this election season.
But what I’m finding most troubling is his penchant to overreact. He’s starting to appear like his course of actions and even what he believes can be dictated by the very forces he opposes. Talk about him not wearing a flag pin and he’ll change course and put it on. Talk about him being a muslim and he’ll go to AIPAC and give a speech like he was Benjamin Netanyahu .. then keep scarf-wearing women away from the stage. Talk about him having dialouge with leaders we don’t like and he’ll waffle on his position. Talk about him not going to Iraq and he’ll schedule a visit to Iraq. Talk about him being weak and he’ll start making Bushesque “dead or alive” statements about Bin Laden. Talk about his wife and he’ll hide her and “make her over.” Talk about his pastor, associates, or even those within his own campaign and he’ll dump them.
This may not be all be his fault, and his pastor definately needed to be dumped, but there is a pattern emerging that I find troubling. I also recognize that he has to do what he has to do to become the president. But hopefully he’s not going to govern this way. If the right can say BOO and make him jump, that doesn’t bode well for Iran, Afghanistan, or Iraq.
If he can be bullied, bluffed, or badgered into taking positions that are counter to what drives the Obama movement, there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed, dis-spirited and de-energized Americans who rode him into office on a horse named Change.
It remains to be seen, but it bears watching.