Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Obama Gen X Liberal
Another reason I support Barack Obama for President.
While I still like Edwards' policies the best of the remaining three (viable) candidates, I think it's Obama that would, by far, have the most impact for us as a nation when it comes to fixing our image with the rest of the world.
I don't remember where I read or heard it, but someone was explained just how Obama's face & name speaks louder than anything anyone can say. Imagine a child in the middle east catching a glimpse of the new American President on TV, and he looks a little like him.
Here's an article that Poli posted a few weeks ago on his blog. I can't pass up reposting it here, since I am the OCD Gen X Liberal:
Why Obama Is Relevant
Generation X, it's our turn
Seattle Times staff columnist
Ask a Barack Obama supporter to recall his or her "Obama moment," and it's like hearing about a first kiss.
They all seem to remember the precise instant they knew. "It was his speech at the 2004 convention," says Jason Sawatzki, 32, a lab tech at Edmonds Community College. "Everything about it was different from the bitterness I've been hearing my entire life."
"For me, it was last February, when he kicked off his campaign," says Digvijay Chauhan, 40, a Redmond tech entrepreneur who came from India in 1991. "I'm not ashamed to say I had tears in my eyes."
"I was done with politics until I heard him," says Mary O'Barr, a Seattle nurse whose political roots go way back (her father was a JFK delegate). "I've felt like our politics is killing us. Then he comes along."
If all this sounds a little cultish, well, I'd say it's more polite to call it a movement. Either way, it is for real.
Obamamania is about a bunch of different things. Such as rejecting special-interest-driven partisanship. And erasing tired racial categories.
But it also has the feel to me of a once-in-a-generation shift.
The message: Baby boomers, you're out. You've had your chance.
Remember Generation X? What author Douglas Coupland called my age group, the crowd cursed to live with no identity in the shadow of the boomers for eternity?
What I hear in the Obama movement is that it's our turn now.
Obama is 46. I am 42. We were born near the end of the baby boom, but more importantly, too late to be grounded in the cultural or racial fights that dominate politics.
Most of my life, politics has seemed more about the past than the present. Especially after the Cold War ended.
Here's how Obama described the '90s and the 2000s in "The Audacity of Hope":
"I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation — a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago — played out on the national stage."
Exactly. It explains how the 2004 election could be about a 30-year-old war, Vietnam, instead of the war we're in.
Can we please move on? That's what the Obama movement is saying.
Even some Obama baby-boomer supporters feel it. They say that after the social achievements of the '60s, they're now ashamed of the debt, corruption and corporatization of politics that is also one of their legacies.
"My generation is not leaving the nation in good shape," says Marsha Scutvick, 57, of Mill Creek. "We can keep going down that same road. I think it's time to try something new."
Not much has been asked or expected of my generation. We haven't led. Other than with the Internet, we've made no real blip of change. We're arguably every bit as narcissistic as our elders.
Obama is saying: Here's a chance to erase that "X." Cleaning up after the baby boomers still leaves us obsessing about them. But it's such a mess that somebody better do it.
Danny Westneat's column appears Wednesday and Sunday.
Reach him at 206-464-2086 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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