Friday, October 31, 2008

St. Louis American endorses Barack Obama

Here is The St. Louis American's editorial endorsement of Barack Obama. My campaign contact called from Chicago yesterday to say they had read it at headquarters and were excited. The picture of the man in Sarasota is from the campaign Flickr site.


Obama for us

It will come as no surprise that we heartily endorse Barack Obama for U.S. president.

There are at least 100,000 reasons for our decision. That is, roughly, the number of people who stood on the Gateway Arch grounds and beyond recently to cheer on his candidacy in its final weeks before the Nov. 4 election, when - as Obama told us himself, just before he stepped onstage - African Americans can be the decision makers in his favor if we vote anywhere near our strength.

The image of an African-American orator attracting a diverse, peaceful, passionate crowd of 100,000 in an historically segregated city like St. Louis should be endorsement enough for this very special person. If you can unite St. Louis, whose divisions we know all too well, you can move the country drastically forward toward greater equality and inclusion. And, as Obama told us personally before he took that stage, “America is always better when we pull together.”

Former Fire Chief Sherman George pointed out something important in a speech to his international colleagues in the fire service, soon after Obama made history under the Arch: “The crowd stretched from the Gateway Arch, where Senator Obama delivered his remarks, to the Old Courthouse, where one of Dred Scott’s trials in his lawsuit to free himself and his family from slavery was heard.”When we talk about making history on Nov. 4, that is the history we are talking about making.Obama has much more than historical symbolism or racial unity to recommend him as the 44th president of the United States. For a great many Americans who could care less if a black man ever serves as president, the deciding moment in his favor came with Obama’s almost unbelievably cool and intelligent response to the calamitous crisis in the credit markets n this campaign’s October Surprise.

Obama had the foresight to call his Republican opponent, John McCain, and suggest that a joint statement would be in the best interest of the nation at a very tentative time. Perhaps sensing he had been outsmarted and that Obama would take credit for a brilliant and sensible idea, McCain instead put his campaign ahead of his country and took the solo grandstand to suspend his campaign and rush back to Washington n where, according to his colleagues, he offered nothing whatsoever to the intense discussions about the bailout.

Against the urgent counsel of many of his advisors, Obama resisted the bait. He did not take McCain’s lead. Unforgettably, he addressed the American people to expose McCain’s ploy and remind us that presidents need to have the wherewithal to do more than one difficult thing at a time. He assured us he was in daily contact with his colleagues in the Senate and with Treasury officials n and, in the meantime, he would continue with the task he had set for himself: that of convincing a fearful and weary nation that he is the leader we need.

We are convinced.

In terms of policy proposals, the media is saturated with what Obama plans to deliver, compared to McCain, and we have printed much of what Obama will propose to the Congress and his party if we vote him into office. His middle-class tax cuts are more wise than the Bush tax cuts that McCain would uphold and increase n adding an estimated $4.2 billion in debt over 10 years. Obama’s health care plan - while far from perfect - at least moves toward the universal coverage we need, whereas McCain would tax citizens for the health care benefits their employers provide and push health insurance further down the path of deregulation that has brought disaster to the credit markets.

Of course, the president does not impose policy. He guides it through his leadership of his own party and his ability to build consensus with members of Congress, regardless of party affiliation. No one could possibly offer a shred of evidence that his opponent can achieve these difficult tasks better than Obama can.

The McCain campaign bickers and implodes, while Obama drives his campaign steadily toward victory, with even the Clinton sideshow belatedly rushing to join what could be an overwhelming victory. No one could name even one meaningful Democratic defection to McCain’s cause, while throughout his historic campaign, Obama has received support and endorsements from prominent, intelligent Republicans - Goldwaters, Eisenhowers, Buckleys and (a coup that will never be forgotten in Black America) General Colin Powell - based on his intellectual depth and ability to make wise, thoughtful decisions.

Powell’s support reminds us of this country’s many, bloody, precarious and expensive military engagements. Obama’s strong, unequivocal stance against the war in Iraq was key to the success of his primary campaign, and we can appreciate why he has downplayed his doubts about the war in competing against a Republican military veteran in a general election.

But anti-war Democrats have not left Obama’s side or thrown roadblocks across his campaign, because we understand that McCain will continue deadly and costly business as usual in our foreign policy, based largely on military interventions, whereas Obama will bring to it the same sound, penetrating, problem-solving mind that has managed to do the unthinkable: make a black man the favored candidate for the presidency of the United States, still the world’s only superpower, going into the last week of the campaign.

Barack Obama is the inspiring, transcendent figure in politics that comes along, at best, once in a generation, maybe once in a century. This man, who made a conscious choice to self-identify as black, represents what America is fast becoming in the 21st century: a diverse, multi-racial, multi-cultural nation that is inclusive and forward-thinking.

Obama is a man of the world, not of a parochial sector of his own country, and a politician of the future, not of the past.Because of his grounded upbringing and superior education, Obama has combined a brilliant mind with an even temperament, political savvy and the crucial ability to think on his feet. He also possesses the rare ability to communicate to the masses and move them in a positive direction, which the Republicans envy so desperately that they constantly demean this gift of his and have tried (and failed) to manufacture it in the form of their vice president nominee.

Obama’s appeal cuts across racial, ethnic, gender, generational, social and national lines, and he has been able to share his positive vision of the United States and the world with the masses n especially young voters, our future n who now share his conviction that change is what is required. Obama has been able to tap into the dormant spirit of a people and empower us to believe that we - any of us; all of us - are the ones who can make change happen.

As Obama told the American personally before he gave a similar message to 100,000 hopeful people in St. Louis, “We are all in this together and we must try to understand one another’s hopes and dreams, and in that way we will be more successful than if we turn on one another.”We are sure that a majority of Americans will pull together on Nov. 4, rather than turn on ourselves, as the Republicans always try to get us to do. We are sure that each of you will do all that you can so that all of the registered voters in your family, your church and your neighborhood go - early - to the polls on Nov. 4.

We must not let the success of his campaign make us complacent or think for one moment that our vote is not needed or won’t be counted. We must each of us do our part to help fulfill the dream of equality and equal participation in the political process ignited by the Civil Rights Movement. Each of us has a personal responsibility to help make a difference in this historic election. We strongly urge you to vote for JOE BIDEN FOR VICE PRESIDENT and BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

1 comment:

Lives in Washington DC said...

This was a surprise. Not. :)