Is Barack Obama an idiot? No he is not, but a local newspaper editor says so. More on that later. The star of this post is Barack Obama, who appeared in Birmingham yesterday evening before in a ballroom full of people. Black and white, young and old, all that.
Fellow bloggesr Kathy from Birmingham Blues was there, as was Dan from between the Links. Other bloggers probably were as well, but it was difficult to see everyone.
Barack was preceded by a nine year old local girl who read a letter she had written, and who has more wisdom than anyone in the current administration, and then this Phi De I drum line. I apologize for the quality of my pictures
Then the round mound and self proclaimed future governor superstar NBA player Charles Barkley spoke in support of Obama. Barkley also assured us that we have his word that he will be running for governor, in response to an audience member’s shout urging him to do so.
The next superstar was Congressman Artur Davis, who represents us here in Bessemer. He also was mentioned as a future governor of Alabama, so the field might already be getting crowded.
You hear this every election, about almost every candidate, but I think Obama is being successful in bringing people back in to politics as well as bringing new mostly young people into the mix. There were quite a number of young people, some of course preparing to vote in their first election next year.
I think the crowd was about 50% white, and this speaks well for the candidate. I would like to see Hillary under the same circumstance, $25 and without husband Bill, and see if she would draw as big a crowd and as a diverse a crowd. My prediction, Hillary would bring in less white women, and less white men. In fact, I think she would draw less of every group.
Obama spoke about working as a community organizer in Chicago and realizing that there were lots of ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. I am hoping his campaign will inspire ordinary people here and around the country to continue to do extra-ordinary things as well. The country is beaten down and a lot of positive community capacity is not being tapped because people don’t feel good about the situation our country is in. Our children are being left behind, our administration ‘lied’ us into a war that has turned in to a debacle. Gas prices are affecting us all, but for some are enough to really affect their lives. Barack said, “We have so much dysfunction” when talking about Washington, but that dysfunction filters down to communities and families.
But he also said “People have just said, ‘Enough’.” People have had it with the ineptness in Washington and could choose this man, described as a “uniter” by Barkley, to be the person to mend this broken nation.
I believe a lot of change is going to take place over the next 2 years, in the nation but also in our community. Maybe there is a similar feeling in communities across the nation, but in talking to people over the last few weeks promoting our Bessemer Neighborhood Association, I depict a cautious optimism and hope among people that I haven’t recognized before. I think people are beginning to see an end to the war, whether sooner or after the next election, and also have hope regarding the violence that grips our own community. They see that presidential candidates are actually offering solutions to the problems in our nation and that members of their own community are seeking solutions for the community.
Oh yeah, the “idiot” comment. Newspaper editors have a responsibility to keep discourse civil and should hold themselves up to a high standard in order to gain and keep respect for them and their paper. Dale Jones, the editor of The Western star in Bessemer, in a column on June 27 called Obama’s statements idiotic, but on this blog he called the candidate himself an idiot. Here is his quote from the comments from this blog (June 28, 2007, Does Faith Unite Us? Do Republicans Divide us?) :
"It is true, Joe, that Obama is opposed to same sex marriage, but does indeed support civil unions and also in giving same-sex couple full rights. What an idiot! "
It is one thing to disagree with a candidate’s positions, but quite another for a newspaper editor to resort to name calling. Oh I know I have called Bush, Cheney, Rummy and others names, but they have proven their ineptness and certainly deserve any criticism I or anyone else offers. Obama’s positions serve to unite our country and lift people up; the administration’s policies have divided the nation and beaten people down. But that is the Republican way, isn’t it.