“That Obama scares me.”

obama posterI overheard it the day before the election.

That Obama scares me.”

I tried to believe that his fear was of the changes that are going to occur as a result of this election.

I really would like to believe that.

But I know better.

It was fear of something different, of someone different.

“HE isn’t like us.” “HE looks different.” “HE sounds different.” “HE can’t be a real American.” “HE pals around with Bill Ayers, a domestic terrorist.” “HIS preacher teaches hate.” “HE’s a Muslim.” “I can’t vote for him, HE’s…, HE’s…, not white.”

THAT Obama scares me.”

THAT one.”

Despite the misinformation campaigns, the hate ads, the robocalls, and racial bias, the American electorate overwhelming elected THAT one — the SENSIBLE one — the RIGHT one.

Yes, WE can!

Yes, WE did!

The change is started.  It’s going to take some time.

Some people aren’t going to like it.

It’s not going to benefit everyone.

I’m not going to like everything about it.

But the nation was off course.

The nation needed a new heading and there will be a new hand on the tiller.

Yes, we can!

I’m not afraid of Barack Obama — Never was.

Note: This commentary is not intended to imply that all who voted for McCain and against Obama were racist.  In my view, race was not an issue for the majority of those who voted for the Republican candidate, but there were many voters who were influenced by race and/or the campaign ads and speeches that were designed to foster fear — and that is what this post is addressing.

american history, beliefs, economy, history, now that's cool!, politics, values

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  • Bandit Nov 8, 2008

    I'm afraid of Barack Obama, but I'm just as black as he is.
    I'm afraid of an inexperienced Democratic politician with an overwhelming Democratic majority in the House and Senate.
    I'm absolutely terrified in the face of Tyranny. Tyranny of the Majority, that is; the very thing that the founding fathers were trying to avoid with a complex system of checks, balances, and separation of power that have been made all but moot this season.
    I'm afraid of not knowing how Obama plans to fund his trillion-dollar-or-more plans without introducing new taxes.
    I'm afraid of Rahm Emanuel's mandatory civil service, which begs the question "is a man who has been forced to be good better than a man who chooses evil?"
    I'm afraid of the absolute fanaticism of his supporters and i'm afraid of blind, unquestioning faith in change for change's sake.

    And i'm not so much afraid as i am flat out SICK of people assuming that any reservations people feel for Obama are race-based. Just because you worship the man as a God does not make him so. There are other flaws in his character, policies, and the nature of his plans that make him worrisome, and i daresay that YOU are the biased one for failing to recognize this. Maybe you're not racist, but if you didn't have a preconceived notion about the person in the story above, I doubt you would have assumed that their hesitation was caused by Obama's race.
    Did it occur to you, ever, in your judging of this person's character, to question his/her motives? OR was it simply more suiting to assume that he/she is a racist? Had you asked him/her why he/she were afraid of Obama and had he/she hesitated or failed to come up with a satisfactory response, maybe you would be justified in assuming racism, but as far as i can tell, you did not, and therefore ARE not.

    Might i also add, that you've given no substantial reasons NOT to be afraid of Obama, just rehashed old talking points. This would be better suited as poetry or prose, but there is no substantive political merit here.

  • Mike Goad Nov 8, 2008

    Bandit,

    Well, I certainly don't worship Obama and I don't assume that reservations are raced based.

    I've known Jim for about 20 years, an acquaintance, not a friend. Jim worked at the same place I did, in a different department, though we've worked together several times over the years on the same refueling team. I'll grant that I could be wrong, but based on what I know of him, I don't think so. I didn't ask because I was in a social situation where I was in a political minority and it was the day before the election. There might have been another Obama supporter there, but I doubt it.

    I am just so sick and tired of all of the attacks that are based on Obama being different. The constant barrage of Reverend Wright ads just before the election was sickening.

    A friend of over 40 years is particularly disappointing. We both attended the same all-white high school on the edge of Houston. During this campaign, she has been forwarding all of the innuendos and trash e-mails, despite being the legal guardian of two mixed race grandchildren.

    I live in a southern state county where Obama got 27% of the vote. In high school, my oldest daughter was ostracized when she dared to befriend a mixed-race child.

    I voted against George Bush because I feared that his politics and personal capabilities would be bad for the country, even though I expected to benefit in my career and personally. I was able to retire at age 55 in 2007 because of how fast my savings had ballooned, yet two years later, some of my friends who were in very similar situations financially now don't know when they can retire.

    I think under a Barack Obama administration, I may have to go back to work, even though I don't want to. However, I do believe that Obama will be a good president that will benefit America.

    Change scares me. Obama doesn't. I didn't want him to run this time because I really didn't think he could make it this time.

  • I'm not sure anyone can handle what's coming down the pike, but I think Obama has the best chance. I'm not afraid of tyranny of the majority, because I don't think Obama and the Congressional Democrats will always agree. I think that's one reason he's chosen Emanuel. We'll see. I'm not a Obama worshipper, but as I've said, I think he's our best chance.

  • Cath Lawson Nov 8, 2008

    Hi Mike – Some folk are scared of even the slightest change. I also believe Obama will bring positive changes to your country. Just the fact that he was elected, proves that we're living in a world where positive change is possible – if we really want something.

  • ryan-1 Nov 8, 2008

    It was time for a change I think and his being elected regardless of whatever policies positions, doubts and everything else is a symbol of that. And maybe that's the point.

  • WaltzInExile Nov 8, 2008

    I'd love to know how Bandit feels about Prop 8 in California, Prop 102 in Arizona, Prop 2 in Florida and Act 1 in Arkansas. Because THAT is the "tyranny of the majority" that scares me more than anything a single-party-controlled legislature and executive branch could do.

  • CJ Nov 9, 2008

    I'd have to agree with Bandit for the most part. I am so sick and tired of people who assume that just because a person does not support Obama means they must be racist. That's sheer ignorance. It takes a small minded person to attack someone with a racist comment because they disagree with you. Obama's skin color has nothing to do with his political views, which I disagree with. CHANGE for the sake of change does not mean anything will get better. I keep hearing people spouting that anything is better than the current administration. Please. And when we're no different than a 3rd world country? Will they still embrace the CHANGE?

  • 🙂 I just received a Kreativ Blogger Award and am passing the award on to some of my favorite bloggers. You're on the list. See http://stresstopower.com/blog/2008/11/09/kreativ-

  • Debo Hobo Nov 9, 2008

    Afraid!!! I am not afraid of what's to come I'm afraid of those that are content with what has been shoveled down our throats for the last eight years. I don't give crap that Obama is black like me, I am glad a Democrat is back in charge and that people will matter more than big corporations.

    With this election the true colors of our neighbors are coming out and I don't like what I am seeing in most cases.

  • Karen Nov 9, 2008

    Debo I agree with you 100%, we (Mike & I) have been so sick of the administrations screw ups this past 8 years – I would have most likely voted for any Democrat that won the nomination but we were glad it was Obama – for the first time ever we donated money to a campaign. When I first heard him speak at the Democratic convention 4 years ago my youngest daughter and I just said right away that we thought he would run and win and that we would be backing him. I have found some comments on other blogs sickening.

  • Julie Nov 10, 2008

    While I agree race is likely a large chunk fueling people's fear, I also believe there are many other reasons behind people's fear-based positions, like party politics, our current troubled times and uncertainties, and even age-related thinking. I'm not one of them. When weighing my decision, I set aside the tangibles and looked (as best I could) at the measure of the person. (I did this for all the candidates.) What I see is this: a man of clear thinking and the willingness to find common ground and work for a common good. I see a leader we can respect. Rarely do I get into political (or religious) conversations, but this year I've done so, because I think the common good is our goal…and those who fear too much can prevent us from getting there. It's important for us to remember that change takes time and that what's good for all of us inherently means some of us will not like everything that happens. But it's even more important to remember that we are only as strong and healthy as our weakest links. I see this man as one who has the ability to turn our common thinking around, and point us back toward the sunlight. He has the ability to elevate our own thinking. He has the ability to see the big picture. He has the desire to learn what other people think and say and believe and need and want. He has the wherewithal to set things in motion to make things happen. We just need to let him. Hiding our heads under our covers because we're afraid of the dark (no pun intended!) doesn't help us turn on the light. We need to stop fearing and start believing.

  • Miguel de Luis Nov 10, 2008

    Bandit, your founding fathers did a great job. A would be tyrant would have a very tough nut to crush in the USA.

  • Robert Nov 10, 2008

    In response to "Bandit"

    "I’m absolutely terrified in the face of Tyranny. Tyranny of the Majority, that is; the very thing that the founding fathers were trying to avoid with a complex system of checks, balances, and separation of power that have been made all but moot this season."

    No… President Bush made all those points moot when abused his powers to take us to a war based on his administration's lies. Where were all of these so called checks and balances then? The reason the Democrats
    have a majority right now is because Republican's didn't adhere to your so called checks and balances. They
    allowed Bush to break law after law and bend the constitution without any threat of punishment. Bush pardoned
    Libby who was convicted by a jury. He signed the Patriot Act. If anyone ever promoted 'tyranny' in America
    it was George Bush.

    I do believe you are afraid. And it is that exact fear and ignorance that are the cause of hate, discrimination, persecution in the world.

  • Dot Nov 11, 2008

    One of the things I like most about Obama is that he talks about inclusiveness. He vowed to represent all the people, not just the ones who agree with him. Whether that was just rhetoric or a genuine promise remains to be seen. I do know that I no longer have to be ashamed of our president's image in the world. We're faced with huge problems — not just Obama, not just the Democratic Party, but all of us. It's not to early to start findings ways we can help solve those problems, as well as ensuring that there's no "tyranny" in the process.

  • rummuser Nov 11, 2008

    I am not an American. I am however one of the billions of people of the world who are afraid. Afraid not of Obama, but afraid for him. It need not be the tyranny of the majority that will do him in. It is very likely the situation as it exists today in the USA which already has had serious implications for the well being of the rest of the world.

    Any one, white, black, brown, yellow or polka dot has got one hell of a job ahead of him as President of the USA at this juncture. The whole world is watching. I would be scared if I was Obama and so would my family and friends.

  • Mike Goad Nov 18, 2008

    Thanks to all of you who stopped by and commented on this post.

    What a wonderful collection of generally thoughtful — and respectful — commentary.

    There's too much content for me to respond adequately to each comment, so, once again, THANKS! 😉

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