Friday, June 6, 2008

Obama for President

I've been letting this thing sink in... for the first time in the history of our country, a brown man has played the "white man's" game and won.

It's pretty friggin' cool. There's gotta be a catch.

No doubt, I'm proud as hell. But I don't feel proud cuz I'm brown and he's brown, necessarily. I'm proud for this country--that enough people believed that change can be accomplished. Enough people were fed up with the expected, and tried something new. People in unexpected places like Iowa and Montana. I'm proud he was brave enough and steely enough to be able to play the game... the delegates game especially, and win. I'm proud that for the most part, he kept the mudslinging to himself. Sometimes he stumbled... sometimes he was too quick to bow to pressure, but on the other hand I recognize in him a certain ability to be distant from the day-to-day. It has to do with growing up in different places, in different countries, exposed to all sorts of different people. To be a part of, yet very different from people in your own family. My mom's family was of a "part"... belonged to a particular and very prominent element of "Black" Chicago life, and yet we, related by blood, were not. A situation like that teaches you early to define your own existence inside of your own skin. It gives you the ability to make your world very very small. And when your world is very small, you can appear to have things be much closer to you without them actually affecting you. So I feel it was easy for him to distance himself quickly from things like Jeremiah Wright because truthfully, they weren't all that close to him to begin with.

I'm a little conflicted, though. In the true sense of the word, he is African-American... an American who is a second-generation African. He has a distinct name. I still wonder had he been a JohnDoe American Black man, would he have so easily penetrated the system? I know people intimated he got where he was because he was "black"... and that's not exactly true if he were JohnDoe American Black Man. But there is a certain truth to that, given his particular set of circumstances. It doesn't make his nomination any less important. And to people not in AfricanAmerican culture, it's all the same "Black Man" to them. But internally, people wonder, and despite the fact that mainstream media claims "black people" supported him, the truth is a lot of brown people were wary. "He's not really one of us," I've heard some brown folk say. "He's got another agenda."

I'm a little conflicted because initially, while I wasn't a die-hard fan of Hillary, I thought it was cool she was running for president. We're also long overdue for a woman to be president. When the rumblings first began about who was going to run, I was more on her side than any one else's mainly cuz I didn't know anything about him except that Grandpa had met him.

It took a rant by Bigbear about what was happening to Harlem to make me stop and think. Clinton's office on 'Two-Five was what finally nailed the coffin shut on what used to be the soul of Black Folk. And there was something fundamentally wrong to me with having 12 years of the same two families running the country. That's like having a monarchy. What's the point of claiming we're a democratic country when the same two families have that kind of power?

And also Obama has sex appeal. We haven't had that in a long time. The sexual tension between him and his wife is palpable. Hillary just doesn't have that appeal, and her standing by Bill all those years, with all his blatant and public disrespects of her really left me sour.

But two things really firmed my Obama support. The first thing was Obama's website. It was tight. He had taken the time to come up with a logo, lay out the site, categorize and organize topics and agendas, took advantage of things like email and blogs and pay-by-internet. And the the "match" thing blew my mind. As you all know, I have no money. All I could donate was $5, but I believed enough in what he was saying to give my five bucks. And when I completed the transaction, a little pop-up "matched" me to someone else who had donated the same amount, and offered to put me in contact with that person. I chose not to (cuz I don't like groups) but the concept was brilliant. BRILLIANT. Because it made your average broke-ass single-parent-me feel involved, part of a larger community. And obviously that worked, because he out-raised Hillary by almost 2-1.

The second thing that did it to me was Hillary's downward spiral. As a woman, she was caught between playing hardball man-style, or playing a woman's game. In my mind, she chose to play hardball man-style and experience has taught me that that just doesn't work. You can never beat a man playing a man's game... and I was surprised at her choice. I thought she would have known better. It ends up making you look more woman-like, and subsequently weaker than a man.

Women know how to use emotion. It is our strength. Men don't always understand it, and they complain about it and ridicule it but I have found that we still play better when we play our own game. Because there is a dynamic between male and female that's built in... everything has it's place. When a woman plays a man's game she upsets that balance.

I know lots of women disagree. They don't like to cry in public because it makes them look weak. But I know... having cried in public (though not often) nothing stops time faster than a woman crying cuz she's pissed the fuck off. Or distressed.

But Hillary chose to be a man, wearing the pantsuits, making the pants suits jokes, trying to beat the men at their own game, and the result for me was that she just looked bitchy, and shrill, and out of control. And I didn't like that at all. And what's worse, because she was busy playing a man's game she couldn't be a woman too, and control her man. Cuz Bill is out of control and needs a bitch-slap or two. To me, Michelle Obama displays more power in her fake pearls and plastic hair, cuz she's female all the time. And by her being so very female, you know damn well who's the power in that family. Pretty ironic...

It's disappointing, cuz if Hillary had played her woman's game and won, I'd respect her. If she had played her woman's game and lost, I'd still respect her and would have been overjoyed at the thought of her and Obama on the same ticket. But I've lost all respect for her as a chick. And if Obama put her on the ticket it would really cause some internal debate in my soul. She pissed me off that much.

To me, a brown skinned woman, the choice between Hillary and Barack was an interesting one. Do I support my sister? Or do I support my heritage? And even though I joked that my choice for Barack was because he looked good running through the surf, my overwhelming feeling was that it's about time we have a brown President.

There's a whole host of undercover issues in the choice between a "black" man and a "white" woman, too. Because for the longest time, in a slaveholders society, neither one had any power. Both were held hostage to the will of a white man. But ultimately, "Mistress" still had some Power Over, simply by virtue of skin color. And a white woman's say-so could mean a black man's death, and by very brutal means. And "white" women could vote long before "black" men could.

That wrong needed to be equalized. Barack's nomination, to me, is all the "reparation" brown folk will ever need. Money be damned. I'm good, now.

But I'm a little sad that Hillary had to beaten that way... but I don't think she was beaten by Barack. She got beat by her own people. But I'm no political pundit so all this is just the musings of an ordinary brown chick living a low-budget life.

I'm glad it's over though. The primaries were painful. It got to the point where I just couldn't listen anymore, couldn't watch except from the peripheral. It made me really sad. But it's done... he's the presumptive nominee and I hope that people get over their Billarymania, and over the inherent and built-in racism and get behind him. It's time we tried something new. Even if he got into office and played the same old games the same old way, the game will change by virtue of his skin color, cuz we're just that shallow.

Cuz something's got to give... the war has got to end somehow, gas prices have got to come down. Racism has got to be met head on. We need to take care of our children. It's time for Change, cuz Change is good.

Si Se Puede!

1 comment:

ratgirlny said...

Great post...

I always liked Hillary. She is typical of women of my mother's generation (yes, I know she is a little younger but not much) who really had to claw their way up.

I really like Obama too. He like him because he is historic for a reason besides his race. He is one of "us" globe trotting hippie academics. He lived all over the world. He has an Indonesian half sister. His mother never played by the rules of her time. You may laugh, but I look at him and see MY family too.

I wish my mother was still around. She would have been out there campaigning for him. He is very much like RFK, my mother's big hero. He can do speeches like Jesse Jackson, another of my mother's big political heroes. And his mother was so much like her.