Tuesday, May 20, 2008

From Alison in England.. Supporting Obama from Afar!

From Alison Winter in the U.K.:

"I hope you are OK. It's tough being uprooted. But I think it's good that you are so passionately behind Obama. Outside the U.S., we all want a Democrat because U.S. foreign policy under the Republicans has been just wrong, frankly. Hillary has gone for too many cheap shots, I think.

"I don't know anyone here who doesn't want Obama to win. If the Democrats don't get behind him fully, then their race is just too weak. As lovely as having a 'change' is, be it for the Democrats, a woman or a black man, it makes John McCain the safe and secure option. In your current economy that's going to appeal to many people.

"On behalf of the foreigners, please do everything in your power to promote Obama (I know you are, but I want you to know just about everyone outside the U.S. is behind you). We can't vote, but we still have to deal with the consequences. Maybe this is why your current situation has occurred - to use your writing to really promote him. What do you think? I love what you've written so far."

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Thanks, Alison. Glad to hear (in an earlier part of your email) that your fortunes are changing for the better. You deserve it and have earned it!

I do have one disagreement with something she said above. I don't think there's a snowflake's chance in Hades that a Republican will win this time. McCain is not a "safe and secure option" unless we want an extended Bush philosophy out there tripping up our chance to redeem ourselves globally and knee-capping ourselves domestically. And he doesn't seem to have much of a clue about how to help the economy, either. I just don't see voters choosing him. The Republicans have had their day for eight years and it has brought us little else but misery in nearly every aspect.

McCain, too, has taken cheap shots, seeming to indicate that Obama is a Hamas darling. Hamas has said they'd like to see him as the next President, yes -- but that's because (they went on to say) he was like JFK -- a statesman and a strong, no-nonsense, admirable opponent when it comes to foreign policy. That hardly qualifies as a Hamas "endorsement"; it's a viewpoint shared by much of the world. Just because Hamas sees in Obama what the rest of the world sees in him is not scandalous; it seems to me even a wee bit hopeful. A calming of saber-rattling.

I see two sides to the same coin here, not to disparage McCain too much. He, too, is a staunch patriot and a great American. But he's a peacekeeper, a warrior, where Obama is a peacemaker. McCain is a hammer and addresses most things that need to be addressed the way a hammer addresses a nail: Ouch! (I can be a bit of a hammer myself at times -- an aspect I deplore in myself and have worked hard to alter. And most of the time, I succeed, thank God -- just by giving space to the predominant "warrior" emotion and letting it run its course before I run my mouth.)

Here's the fundamental difference:

Peacekeepers are usually international military powers whose paradigm is
"Power is king. Power keeps people in line. Power wins." They are viewed globally by many as dangerous, provocative, blinders-on strategists: How do we "win" this thing?

Peacemakers calm the rhetoric, the protocol, the intense emotional battering that goes on when there's a right and a wrong, an agenda to fulfill, a "war to be won." Peacemakers find ways to compromise without giving away the farm. They work hard, usually behind the scenes, to discover diplomatic and humane solutions that honor the fact that we all are God's children, whether we acknowledge it or not. (God sees it this way, and I for one do not argue with the Almighty.) Religions divide; relationships unite.

The world is a dangerous place right now. We have to fix things on many fronts: environmentally, economically, ideologically, globally and locally.

My sense is that the person best-suited to lead this great effort should be a peacemaker -- someone well-versed in respectfully understanding and listening to everyone who feels passionately about surviving in the world. And that person, in my well-considerated and studied opinion, is Barack Obama.

Yeah, I know: this means that, at times, he's going to be listening to and interacting with people that many would like to see blown to smithereens for their intolerance, dangerous passions, and past and proposed aggressions.

I didn't say he was going to agree with or condone all he hears; nor do I think he'll act foolishly on what he hears. But he is the man most likely and best-trained to open dialogue, calm the rhetoric, respect differences (again, without giving away the farm), and find a way forward -- to a future that embraces diversity, finds common ground, and treats people with respect, and the love expressed in the heavens.

That's my take on this.

Ciao for now!

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