My Kind Of Politician
It may be said that as a Brit resident in Indonesia, I have no right to comment on the US presidential election. But I would argue that I do, you do and every single person on this planet does. I wouldn't argue that we've got even more right than the US electorate, but how they vote in the coming weeks will affect all the world's citizens for the foreseeable future.
For many of us, it's literally a matter of life and death. In Iraq, Afghanistan and other 'hotspots', local populations remain at risk thanks to the presence of 'the Great Satan' with its military might. Elsewhere, the collapse of the global financial system, triggered by the greed of American institutions, threatens livelihoods and the security of a basic human right - a roof over one's head.
The self-proclaimed 'Leaders of the Free World' have got us enslaved or at the very least co-opted, by their presumption that massive consumption and 'growth' is good for us. Try telling that to impoverished farmers living in drought and famine stricken areas of Africa who were forced to grow cash crops to feed the ever-fattening burger-munching burghers of the American shopping mall strips.
Come to think of it, try telling that to the millions of Americans living impoverished lives through the lack of employment opportunities and the paucity of public services, with discriminative policies denying them access to medicine whilst they can buy drugs from the gang on the corner.
I wouldn't vote for Barack Obama because of his policies. To be frank, I don't know what they are, but knowing what kind of man he is offers hope. Not to beat about the Bush(es), that he is not a member of the élitist oiligarchy (sic
) is the first point in his favour. He has got where he is because of who he is rather than who his father was.
But one cannot really escape one's upbringing, one's personal growth - the best kind of advancement.
I support Barack Obama because these people have known him and do
.It's very sad if a great nation like America wants to persecute Obama just because he was born from a Muslim dad and had a Muslim stepfather. I'm sure one of the reasons for the flexibility he has today is his experiences in Indonesia. At the school, there were half-Chinese and half-Dutch Indonesians, Javanese people, Ambonese, and there were Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Catholics. Barry is used to a mix.
. Rully Dasaad, classmate at Basuki Primary School, Jakarta.People looked at him and saw a black man, but his own identity was that he was raised by and living with his white mother and these white grandparents. And maybe because of his white half, white people were willing to let their racist side out in front of him. So he had a lot to wrestle with, especially as a teenager. He was questioning things and following them towards agony and resolution.One of the things that Punahou instilled in us is that you're given much in order to give much - you're here to go out and help the world.
. Tony Peterson, friend at Punahou High School, HawaiiBarry was a focused, dedicated student and an earnest, sincere person, but he wasn't too serious to talk about the fun stuff. We'd hang out and talk about what was happening in class and who was dating whom. He goofed around with the rest of us. He was engaging and perhaps even charismatic, but I wasn't aware of him being a playboy. He was friends with women who were impressive feminists as well as people who were more socially focused. He straddled groups: the arts/literary crowd, which tended to stick together, and the political activist crowd, likewise. He belonged to both.
. Margot Mifflin, friend of Obama at Occidental College, LA.Barack had grown up as an outsider, without a father, as an American kid living abroad and separated from his mother at high school. Outsiders do one of two things: try to be like everyone else or identify with other outsiders. Barack did the latter. He was reflective and willing to identify with people in poverty, with people who faced discrimination.
. Gerald Kellman, employed Obama as a community organiser in ChicagoHe had a combination of intellectual acumen, open-mindedness, resistance to stereotypical thinking and conventional presuppositions. He also had a willingness to change his mind when new evidence appeared, confidence in his own moral compass and a maturity that obviously came from some combination of his upbringing and earlier experience.
. Larry Tribe, Harvard professor of constitutional lawLike all inquisitive, curious and interesting politicians, he is someone who can scan the horizons of many different issues and can find politics in cultural situations - the sadness of death, the experience of living in a developing country and what that means, or economic hardship in rural middle America. He is someone who has a strong emotional intelligence as well as a strong cognitive intelligence.
. David Lammy, UK Minister of State for Higher Education
Americans, for all our sakes, vote wisely next Tuesday.