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Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright & Leadership

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:23 pm - March 25, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Post 9-11 America

I wonder if, after finally sitting down and slowly reading Democratic presidential frontruner Barack Obama’s speech on race, I will have anything more to say than I have already said. When I read certain passages, it strikes me that the Illinois Senator does have something to say, but that he dodges the real issue, that is, he fails to explain why he never challenged his pastor for his crazy comments.

As Lionel Chetwynd put it today in a must-read “letter” to the Senator on Pajamas: “That is the teaching opportunity I hoped you would evoke: not explaining Wright’s outrage to me, but explaining his outrageousness to him.” To me, that failure signals a man who is not ready for the presidency. (The problem for the Democrats is that this item item in today’s reminds us that neither is his only remaining opponent for their party’s nomination.)

We all have friends, mentors even, whom we admire on any number of issue, but have some significant flaw. We may admire her ideas on mythology, yet decry her politics. We may like someone’s writing style and economic arguments, yet object to his sexual behavior. We may find someone to be a tremendous conversationalist and loyal friend except when he drinks too much (which happens on all too many occasions).

Or, in my case, you have a rabbi with a deep commitment to the traditions of our faith and an ability to draw profound insights from weekly Torah readings, yet who, in a Yom Kippur sermon, misrepresents the President’s policies on torture. Perhaps, I should have raised my objection with the rabbi. Instead, I left the synagogue.

A couple months ago, I learned that a friend of mine opposed Obama for all the wrong reasons — he didn’t think a black man should be president. As soon as he raised the issue of the Senator’s race, I challenged my friend on his bias. I don’t know if I succeeded in changing his mind for we soon changed the subject. It would have been easier to remain silent.

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The book Ms. Hillary won’t write

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:55 pm - March 25, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Literature & Ideas

Sometimes the choices we make, when we balance two conflicting values, passions or even ambitions we have make for the most interesting stories. Or maybe it’s balancing our passion with our ambition. And when some people face truly challenging choices, they often have the most amazing stories to tell.

Think Sophie’s Choice.

Ms. Hillary has such a story, but unless she tells it honestly, it will only interest her die-hard fans, other Democratic groupies and political junkies. If she told it honestly, it could be a book for the ages. Here we have a woman whose early writings, speeches and activism suggest a strong commitment to a leftist agenda. Here we have a voice for feminism. But, we also have a woman who despite her discipline and intelligence, had few natural political skills.

She attaches herself to a man who lacks some of her strengths (e.g., discipline), but has something she lacks, a powerful presence, a natural charisma and an instinct for politics. And by some accounts, Hillary Rodham really did fall (romantically) for Bill Clinton.

Their marriage, however, while politically advantageous to her, did not appear to be very emotionally fulfilling. He started straying sexually even before they exchanged their vows. He cheated on her even when they were in the White House. And when this became public, she stood by her man even though she had mocked that very notion on the campaign trail in 1992.

What if she told the true story of their romance, how she did love him despite his failure to control his sexual libido? What if she discussed what happened in 1998, when she first found out that her husband was carrying on with a woman just a few years older than their daughter? What did she really feel? What did she choose to stay with him after that latest public humiliation? Why would a woman whose ideas on gender come right out of the feminist movement let a man treat her the way her husband did?

In addressing these issues, she could talk about the choices women make, the choices she made, why she realized that, despite Bill’s failings, she understood that ending their marriage might compromise her own political viability. And why her political success mattered more than her personal fulfillment. Or maybe it was that political success brought her emotional fulfillment.

I highly doubt Mrs. Clinton will write this book. It would likely require her to say things which might end her political career — or expose her as having (yet again) deceived the American people in past public comments. In short, she won’t write the book because while it might make her appear more human, it would not further her politic career.

And for the Clintons, all is politics, with electoral success and power their Holy Grail, the quest into which they pour their all.