Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stranger for president

I am watching Senator Barack Obama's last appeal to the American electorate. The 30-minute documentary outlines in great detail the presidential candidate's policy plans. It also provides insight into his personal life, background and family. I am saddened that in this great country of ours, where information is easy to find, myths are easy enough to debunk, and lies can be disproved with the slide of a mouse that many have allowed themselves to be mislead by hate-mongering and half-truths.

Every time I hear someone say "he is an unknown" I want to scream. It's been 18 months of constant media coverage. Yet my cousin's middle-aged co-worker is 'frustrated' that Obama is now claiming to be African-American when everyone knows he is Muslim. Never mind that she is too ignorant to know that one is not exclusive of the other - one being a race and the other a religion. How many times do we need to hear and read the facts? This specific issue of his religion has been clarified over and over, yet some people remain confused.

How is it that Sarah Palin comes on the scene and is welcomed without reservation, but Obama continues to be a "virtual unknown?" Is there any other explanation but that he is black and has a funny name? Is it that some people are made so uneasy by their own bigotry that they look for absolution in fallacies? I have no choice but to think that must be the case. It saddens me to hear NPR news analyst Juan Williams participate in this campaign of fear mongering on behalf of the McCain-Palin ticket. Between his work at NPR and at Fox News (Hold the comments.) you can not tell me that Mr. Williams does not know more about Mr. Obama than Michelle does. Yet he, as recently as Tuesday, continues to say that constituents are uncomfortable with Senator Obama because they do not know who is his. Is Juan Williams betting on the power of suggestion?

What else is there to know? Those who are 'uncomfortable' with Senator Obama are not likely to get comfortable before Tuesday. There is little to be done in the face of bigotry and entrenched xenophobia - particularly as it continues to be fueled by the Republican campaign's desperation. Happily, we all will get to know President Obama even better over the next four - dare I say eight - years.

P.S. It is interesting that the McCain Campaign's response to Obama's 30-minute spot is to say the Illinois senator is not ready to be president - YET.

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