11.19.2008

A Horrible Dream

Last night I dreamt I was on a road trip with Obama. He was still about to be President, but he was ten years younger- my age. Obama, another friend, and I were driving in a small car over a great distance, when we came to a very mountainous coastal area, similar to what you find in Northern California, but on the East Coast. Our friend was driving, and Obama was instructing him on how to shift, for evidently this particular manual was rather complicated.

Too complicated for our friend. As we came to a particularly sharp curve, above a particularly tall cliff overlooking the ocean, he shifted wrong, and didn't pull the right lever. Instead of going around the curve, we went over the cliff, falling 1,000 feet to the sea below. All three of us fell out of the car. I knew enough to angle my body to surf the wind, so that I would not land on the rocks below. I continued to catch the updrafts, looking for deep ocean to catch me, but aware I might not succeed. At the last moment a rocky islet appeared, and I almost hit it, until I kicked my feet up at the last moment, and splashed in the ocean beyond. (In a dream, falling 1,000 feet into water doesn't kill you.) I was relieved to have landed safely, but had a foreboding feeling of dread, that Obama and out other friend had not managed to land in the water.

Shortly thereafter a massive rescue operation commenced, looking for Obama and our friend. They were never found. We knew that they had both died, and I wept. I knew Obama would be the first black President Elect, but never the first black President. All around me people cried, for the end of a dream.

11.16.2008

He makes me laugh.

Did you see Senator McCain at the Al Smith Dinner? And then later on SNL? The dude is funny!



I'm sorry, but this is what he should have been doing for the last year. McCain could have gone with the whole "laughter is the best medicine" bit to bring hope. He tried to match Obama on hope and change, and, well, no one can. It's a losing proposition. But comedy? Obama has kind of fallen flat on that bit.

Until tonight. Did you catch 60 Minutes? I smiled at the McCain bits above. I laughed out loud at the natural, at-ease humor of Obama. Watch it, and know some joy.

11.11.2008

No, We Didn't.

Moveon.org recently came out with a free bumper sticker, "Yes, we did." It's a riff off of Obama's famous slogan, "Yes, we can."

I totally relate to the feeling. Yes, Obama is going to be President- we got him elected! Yes, for the first time in my life, the guy I voted for won. I am so very excited, and millions of us did our part.

But when Obama said, "Yes, we can," he was quite explicitly not talking about getting him elected President. He was talking about something far larger. About changing the way politics is done in Washington. About learning to hope again. About restoring America's reputation throughout the world. About ending war, and bringing in peace. About restoring equitability between the classes in America, and removing the horrible stain where the wealthiest make 400x the salary of the poorest. About bringing in universal health care, so that the poor in America don't go without care, and end up dying. About ending the culture wars, and learning to find common agreement, and that of God in our enemies, whomever they may be. This was what "Yes, we can" was all about.

No, we didn't. But Obama was elected. "Yes, we have begun." That's not as sexy a slogan as "Yes, we did." But it has the benefit of being the truth, and also reminding us all: we still have a very long way to go.

Happy Armistice Day!

Today is a day when, all over the world, people celebrate Armistice Day, the end of World War I and all war, and the beginning of peace. Under President Wilson, we joined the global bandwagon, to celebrate today as "a day dedicated to the cause of world peace." In 1954 ex-General President Eisenhower changed it to Veterans Day, and ever since then in America we honor ex-soldiers on this day, and focus on those who have fought and killed, and the value of war in our lives.

The rest of the world continues to celebrate a day devoted to world peace. Happy Veterans Day.

Around the world, there is often two minutes of silence at 11 AM, remembering all of those, friend and foe, soldier and civilian, who have died in war. Please join me in two minutes of silence, remembering U.S. soldiers and civilians, enemy soldiers and civilians, and civilians caught in the cross-fire, remembering the horror of war, and how we can work with all we are to say, as they did at the end of World War I, "Never again."
Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silent result of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution
of all to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity.
It is right and it is duty.

-Archbishop Oscar Romero

11.06.2008

Obama's First Great Mistake

It is with such great sadness that I write this. Obama has inspired such hope, and we are so excited to actually see him elected. But I must speak for justice. And with the appointment of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, Obama has made his first great mistake.

Congressman Emanuel's father was a member of the terrorist Irgun Gang in the 1940s. I realize that some right-wing groups don't consider Irgun as terrorists, but the British Mandate considered the wanton killings and bombings of civilians to be terrorist acts, and so designated the Irgun Gang a terrorist organization. I affirm that a son should not be judged by the acts of his father, but Rahm Emanuel has not only not condemned his father's actions, but Rahm's subsequent actions continue a disturbing trend.

Congressman Emanuel was a member of a foreign military, the IDF, and has come out strongly against the Palestinian leaders. While rightly speaking against the violence of Palestinians, he has been unwilling to equally condemn Israeli violence. While speaking against Palestinian terrorism, he has been unwilling to even mention Israeli state-sponsored terrorism. His support for Israel is unequivocal.

I ask you, how can Obama hope to engage in dialogue with the Arab people and the Palestinians, who can he appear to be balanced and in pursuit of justice, if his very Chief of Staff so strongly supports one side? The hope of Obama is that he would dialogue with enemies. Now he has taken as co-counsel someone who utterly rejects common ground with his enemies. No American President can achieve a successful resolution to Israel-Palestine, unless they are willing to see that both sides have made grievous errors, and both sides have engaged in terrorism and violence. The Palestinians won't come to the table and be willing to come to resolution on the Right of Return and Jerusalem, if those at the table don't see the current apartheid regime they suffer under.

I fear with this step, Obama has now sabotaged his hope of enduring Mid-East peace, the greatest foreign policy issue we face today.

Homeland Security and Other Reminders of Nazi Germany

I am excited that, for the first time in my life, my guy won. I liked Carter, and was a district campaign manager for Dukakis and dressed up as him for Halloween. But I couldn't vote until Clinton, and he was far too conservative for me, so I went Nader both times. (Not in 2000. I'm not that guy.) I loved Gore's environmental stance, and voted for Kerry because, well, he wasn't Bush. So this is the first time in my life that I voted for someone who actually won, and frankly, I'm a bit unsure of myself. I'm used to being the persecuted minority, able to blame the other guy. What do you do when you're now part of the group in power?

But in truth, no matter how much I love Obama, as a Christian, I have an obligation to be prophetic. For us, it is never Country First, but always Kingdom First. Patriotism is the antithesis of Christianity. We can never put one country above all others, for in that way lies madness, and war, and death. Rather, we are called to continuously be a voice for the voiceless, to speak for the outcast and disenfranchised. This is our calling, even if we like the guy in office, even if we voted for him. So I will speak for justice when Obama works for justice, and speak for justice when he strays from the path. My allegiance isn't to America or Obama, but to Jesus Christ, and ushering in the Kingdom.

So this is the first action I call Obama to. It is a small matter, and easily fixed. It's called Homeland Security. I am not saying you should abolish it, or change the structure. It's a small matter of the name. "Homeland Security" has the connotation of Fatherland or Motherland, from Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. It suggests that your home is separate from others, and you have allegiance It has the idea that you put one ethnic group above another. It has a connotation of Facism; that one must give allegiance to the central security agencies, not that one freely gives authority to them.

Thus it was with horror that I first learned of the name proposed by George II. Make no mistake, name's matter. Many have had troubles with Homeland Security since it began, because they have overreached their authority, limiting our freedom in the name of security. I suggest one small solution, that will partially help, is rennaming the agency, to something like "Domestic Security". How we perceive the agency, and more importantly how the agency perceives itself, begins with its name.

Now that the great Babylonian Captivity is coming to an end, we can begin to correct the many mistakes of the last eight years. Let us begin small. A little name change, switching some letterhead and website urls. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Palin's Concession Speech

It's a long tradition in American politics that you trash your opponent to the depths of hell, and then, as soon as you lose, you say, "Just kidding!", and encourage everyone to work together and support the winner. Thankfully, Obama didn't fall for the trashing this time. But McCain gave a very kind and well-crafted concession speech, speaking well of Obama and speaking well for himself. He is to be congratulated for being magnanimous in defeat.

Lost in this is Palin's speech- which in this last campaign is rather important. She was the pit bull of the McCain campaign, in the traditional role of a Vice-Presidential candidate. But she was a different kind of pit bull, repeatedly raising lies and false allegations, unrepentantly allowing a climate of hate and terrorism to develop at her rallies. She had a loyal following, devoted to her, and not McCain. To Palin's credit, she wanted to speak on concession night, but was denied the opportunity by the McCain campaign.

Yet, it is now two days since the election. She isn't on the McCain campaign leash any longer. She can say what she wants. She has shown a sudden willingness to have impromptu press conferences. What is she waiting for? When are we going to hear from Governor Palin about how the country should come together, that we should support Obama, and she didn't mean all that stuff she said about him, and he's not actually a terrorist or friend of terrorists?

Shame on you, Governor Palin, that we have to call you to do what you should have done without naturally.

11.05.2008

A Positive Campaign

I and others have already pointed out what a milestone this election was, and how excited we are that our guy actually won. But there was another victory in this election. It was an extraordinarily positive campaign. Though Hillary Clinton went very strongly negative against Obama, he held out as long as possible, and then only went negative on policy, not with wild false allegations. His response to disagreeing with Clinton's policies could barely be called negative.

Then McCain attacked him in the general election. In case you've forgotten, Cindy McCain launched a barrage of false attacks on Michelle Obama's patriotism, John McCain attacked Obama while Obama was overseas, McCain made up attacks on Obama for being elitist and a celebrity, he pretended that Obama called Palin a pig, he accused Obama of socialism when Obama a decade ago suggested compensation for slavery, he pretended Obama was in bed with the PLO and terrorists, and falsly accused Obama of being a socialist.

To top it all off, after McCain said he was going to take the high road that Hillary never did, and said the Reverend Wright was off the table, McCain started to talk about bringing Wright up again. Three days before the campagin, a 527 felt they had the go-ahead and launched despicable racist ads, focused on Jeremiah Wright and Obama, in a multi-state ad buy worth millions, that eventually went national. Without exagerrating, if you were watching CNN in the few days before the election, you saw this ad three times an hour, every hour. McCain's response? A tepid rebuke and pulling of the ad in South Carolina, and then not a single response afterward. He let it go forward.

And Obama's response to all of this? Not a single negative ad, for months and months. Only immediate press releases showing why the McCain campaign's allegations were false. And then, after repeated barrages of negative ads by McCain, Obama began to go negative in some commercials, but always on policy, and not on false allegations or allusions. At one point, Obama had more negative commercials (on policy) than anyone else in history, because he was spending more money in ads than anyone else in history- but only a third of his ads were negative. At the same time, 100% of McCain's ads were negative. Obama consistently refused to get into the gutter with his opponents.

Much finger-pointing will now occur, as to why McCain lost the race. There are many reasons, including Palin, not truly being a maverick and following his heart, letting bad advisors run a campaign, the economy, and Iraq. But top up there is that McCain insisted on not only a negative campaign, but one filled with lies. And as amazing as it is, unlike Kerry, Obama defended himself, and yet didn't respond back with despicable allegations, lies, and innuendo. And he still won the Presidency. Now that's a man I want as President.

11.04.2008

Say it with me. President Obama.

George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Harrison
James Polk
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses Grant
Rutherford Hayes
James Garfield
Chester Arthur
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
William Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Warren Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight Eisenhower
John Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George Herbert Bush
Bill Clinton
George Walker Bush
Barack Obama

Praise God, that I now live in a country that has elected a black man as President. Who would have thought it possible, 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even 5 years ago? Truly now, all things are made new. We will now speak of President Obama, a President with an African and Arab name. We will now look to our leader as a person of colour, one with connections for the first time with the 2/3rds World. Children of colour across this country will now look up and see that they can do anything. Other nations will look on us and realize this is a nation they can relate to. They will realize that, now, we truly are the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Oh brave new world, that has such people in it.

I've never done this before.

Vote for someone who actually wins the Presidency. Will this be the first time ever? Oh, glorious day!

You should all totally move to the country. Waiting in line to vote is a lot more fun here.
video
This is an Obama Papa.

I asked for more than one, but they would only give me the one ballot.

For only the second time, I got to vote for a man to be President who will be the first person of colour in the Oval Office. (Well, if you count the VP, the second person of colour in the Oval Office.) Last time was a caucus- this was the first time I was able to put a mark next to his name. Let it be known, for all time, I got to vote for the first black man for President.

video

And a bit anti-climatic, but still a joy- there was actually a ballot initiative, in our supposedly initiativeless state, but at the county level. Thankfully it was a gimmie, similar to Obama's plans- universal health care, at the state level, mandated to be the same as what those in state office get.

My Prediction

Here it is. Electoral Vote is a website I've long followed, having the most accurate polls. It's the poll to the left of this article. The site uses only non-partisan polls (so not groups like PPP), and polls state-by-state, showing the latest predicted electoral votes. It uses the most recent poll, as well as the average of any within a week. Based on all of this, Electoral Vote, along with most internet sites, have been predicting an Obama blowout for the last couple months, long before the traditional news media like CNN, who want to extend their ratings and viewers for as long as possible.

Electoral Vote also shows each state by if it's Barely, Weak, or Strong Republican or Democrat, based on 1-4%, 5-9%, and greater than 10% respectively. (There's also a category for an absolute tie.) Four years ago, four days before the election, Kerry was predicted to win. But what was more important was the Strong States, which Bush was winning over Kerry 2:1 four days out. The day before, Bush was ahead of Kerry on all counts.

Obama is currently not only way ahead of McCain by a large margin, 353:185, far ahead of the needed 270, but in the Strong States he leads 238:118. True, a week ago he was above 270 in the Strong States. But keep in mind that many have already voted at this point, around a third of the electorate. And those 238 are electoral votes that Obama has by over 10%- nearly impossible for him to lose. He needs only 32 more from his Weak or Barely States.

So, based on my calculations of poll closing times at Swing State Project, I'm predicting that we'll be able to know who the next President is (Obama), by the closing of polls in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Colorado, and New Mexico, at 8 PM, Central Standard Time. At that time, of the predicted blue states, only Iowa will be needed to get to 270, and Iowa's seven will be there in another hour- but if Missouri, Indiana, or Georgia end up going to Obama, he won't need Iowa. That means, if you're one of my Pacific Coast readers- vote before 6 PM, if you want your vote to matter!

11.03.2008

The National Republican Trust and the Politics of Hate

Depending on where you live, you're spared this. For this election cycle, and most, I've been on the West Coast. Washington and California are solidly blue, so we don't get a lot of election ads. In Washington, we were excited and surprised to even get visits from the Democratic candidates in the primaries, as usually our caucus is too late. But now I've moved to Wisconsin, and evidently everything has changed.

Wisconsin isn't really a swing state anymore either, but it was recently. That allows us to get the occasional campaign ad, and a lot of the 527 ads. And recently, about three times an hour, we get treated to a particular ad from the National Republican Trust.

Don't get me wrong. I might disagree with a political ad, but of course, I support the right to post them. It is when they lie, and get vicious, and attack other people's culture and race. And make no mistake, this is what the National Republican Trust has done.

The ad is a direct attack on the Reverend Wright, and Senator Obama. It is vicious and underhanded. As I've pointed out in the past, Wright is enmeshed deeply in the black tradition. His remarks weren't at all racist, but were deep in the prophetic tradition of Judaism and Christianity, as expressed in the Old Testament. Sure, he went overboard in claiming that the US government gave AIDS to blacks, but considering our history with syphilis, it wasn't that far off the mark. But in general, what the Reverend Wright said, and the way he said it, is no different from what you find in black churches across this nation.

Perhaps one of the funniest parts of the ad is when the Republican Trust bleeps out the word "damn". They want to make us thing the Rev. Wright said "fuck" instead. Or maybe they are unaware that the word "damn", when used in this way, is not cussing, but a legitimate use of the word within Christian theology? Are they perhaps that clueless about the basics of the Christian faith?

Thus, at the very least, the continued recent attacks by the Republican Trust reveal that they know nothing of the Black Preaching Tradition. In truth, they reveal an attack on another culture, a "foreign" culture to the whites at Republican Trust. This attack is as despicable as overt racist attacks, and indeed, is difficult to distinguish from them. Blacks are okay, as long as they don't think differently from "us", or don't make us have to see their differences. They certainly have nothing to offer us in their manner of thinking, their preaching, or their style of Chrsitianity. Or so is the underlying thinking of these commercials from Republican Trust.

Well, I agree. I don't like being forced to listen to something I disagree with, that I find morally repugnant and racist. I don't expect the Republican Trust to be forced to sit in the church while Jeremiah Wright preaches. So why am I forced to watch these commercials every time they come on the air, three times an hour?

So this is what I've begun to do. Every time the commercial comes on, I contact National Republican Trust, at nationalrepublicantrust.com/contactus.html, and tell them just what I think of them. I tell them they are racist, and I want nothing to do with them. I suggest that they go somewhere else to peddle their racism, because it has no place in my home or my country, and is not something that real Americans believe.

And I invite you to do the same. Let's put a stop to this. I'm not speaking of positive commercials, or even negative ones. But the ones that are over the top, that are viscious slander or racist- start responding. Every time one of these comes on the air, contact the 527, and demand that they pull their commercial off the air. Maybe we'll begin to get through to them. At least we'll strike a blow for truth and justice, and maybe, one day, make that the American way.

Madelyn Dunham, allayrahemha


Madelyn Dunham, grandmother of Barack Obama, who raised him, and formed much of who he is, has just now passed on, promoted to glory. As they say in Morroco, allayrahemha- may God have mercy upon her. Obama met his father only once, and his mother was often gone when he was younger. His father, mother, and grandfather both passed away earlier, leaving only his grandmother remaining. For her efforts in raising Obama, she changed history, but did not live to see the fulfilment of it. Allayrahemik, Madelyn Dunham.

He doesn't even know what he's saying anymore.

In a rally this morning, broadcast on CNN, McCain proposed something new for Florida. They will take the oil proceeds, and give them to Florida, so that the oil wealth can be "shared" among all Floridians. McCain stated that this was because a state knows what to do with its money better than the national government.

Really? Does he actually not realize what he just said? He just advocated sharing the wealth! Or does he somehow think socialism is bad if Obama says it, but not McCain? Or that socialism is bad nationally, but just fine on the state level?

And to put the cherry on top, he then quoted Obama, saying that Obama had advocated "spreading the wealth". Does McCain think that "spreading the wealth" is different from "sharing the wealth"?

I suppose McCain is right. Sharing the wealth sounds slightly more socialist.