A few updates for those who care – and “O” Obama!

Well we’ve reached mid-February and everything is just rosy – except for the roses, of course.  Life is good, the weather here in Salem is just beautiful, and I’ve lost almost 17 pounds over the past 6 weeks.

I forgot to mention the last time around that I updated the Lonnie Harvey memorial page and added another story.  I’ve got a couple more to share, but I will write them later this Spring.  The latest one tells about Lonnie and I going to the old Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino and attending an unforgettable concert.

I don’t usually publish my political opinions on this site, but I will bend the rules a bit and share a few thoughts about the current political primaries and the politicians who are involved.

If you are like me, you’re pretty much fed up with Bush and his gang.  They’ve managed to destroy the housing market, stop meaningful stem cell research, and have wrapped us into a war that few of us really want.  We watch as our bridges collapse, health care becomes unmanageable, the Mexican border remains unprotected, and Bush political scandals grow exponentially each week.

You might also be frustrated with the Democrats.  They won the last Congressional elections by a pretty good margin and clearly had voter support to institute change and stand up to Bush.  But they’ve just rolled over and played like Bush’s lap dogs.

Although I admire McCain and his proven patriotism, he clearly is espousing another four years of Bushism.  Another two years of war in Iraq would be unacceptable, but McCain tells us right up front that we might be in there for another 100 years. 

McCain refers to our presence in Germany, Japan, and Korea as examples of our forces remaining in place 50 years after the wars were over.  But he misses the primary differences between the situations:  Germany and Korea both want us there and being there provides us with critical bases on both sides of the old Soviet Union. 

Iraqis, on the other hand, do not want us there and our being there does not offer us any strategic advantage that we do not already have.  We have bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and a naval fleet in the Persian Gulf.  Anyone attacking us from that part of the world would be toast in a matter of hours as things exist now.

So my vote will likely go Democratic this year.  Hillary has her charm and is very smart, and like Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister of the 1980s and 90s, I think she would be a tough and effective leader.  But even discounting ex-Prez Bill Clinton, Hillary carries a lot of baggage of her own.  People who have worked for her don’t seem to like her and her public face is often the exact opposite of her private personality.  She’d get my vote if it is between her and McCain, but I am hoping I have another choice in November.

Barak Obama clearly would bring a new vision and new blood to the White House.  What he might lack in experience he clearly makes up for in charisma.  In fact, he has charisma with a capital “C.”  He does not have the baggage Hillary has, and is clearly building support from all segments of the population.

It is clear that the Southern white evangelicals will likely vote against Obama simply because they still believe in the old Biblical myth of the “curse of Ham.”  That still limits the modern credibility of the Mormons. Even though a high percentage of African-Americans are members of the Baptist Church, the fact is that the Southern Baptist Church was formed by supporters of slavery around the time of the Civil War, breaking away from the Methodists and “northern” Baptists because of their growing opposition to slavery.  Unfortunately, the  attitudes that created that old denominational split that fed the Klu Klux Klan and segregation for over a century, still exist to some degree in this country, especially the South.  Nothing Obama could do or say will ever change the minds of that category of voters.  They will likely support Huckabee or McCain or simply sit out the election.

The rest of the voting population, however, is clearly beginning to accept Obama as a viable candidate and a popular choice for real change.

In spite of the usual campaign rhetoric, Obama is clearly a breath of fresh air in the political arena.  I say give the kid a chance.  If he screws up, then toss his ass out in four years like we did Jimmy Carter. 

I personally am hoping that Obama gets his chance to show us his stuff.  I’m not sure why anyone would want to be President considering the workload and personal danger, but if Obama wants the opportunity, I say let him have a go.  I’m sure Hillary will still be waiting in the wings for her next chance, so maybe she would be a decent replacement if Obama fails to live up to the hype.

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