Obama is the change that America has tried to hide
Only one candidate offers the radical departure for the 21st century the US needs, for its own sake and the rest of the world’s
Alice Walker The Guardian, Tuesday April 1 2008 Article historyAbout this articleClose This article appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday April 01 2008 on p32 of the Comment debate section. It was last updated at 00:05 on April 01 2008. I have come home from a long stay in Mexico to find – because of the presidential campaign, and especially because of the Obama-Clinton race for the Democratic nomination – a new country existing alongside the old. On any given day we, collectively, become the goddess of the three directions and can look back into the past, look at ourselves just where we are, and take a glance, as well, into the future. It is a space with which I am familiar.
When I joined the freedom movement in Mississippi in my early 20s, it was to come to the aid of sharecroppers, like my parents, who had been thrown off the land they’d always known – the plantations – because they attempted to exercise their “democratic” right to vote. I wish I could say white women treated me and other black people a lot better than the men did, but I cannot. It seemed to me then, and it seems to me now, that white women have copied all too often the behaviour of their fathers and their brothers. In the south, especially in Mississippi, and before that, when I worked to register voters in Georgia, the broken bottles thrown at my head were gender-free.
I made my first white women friends in college; they loved me and were loyal to our friendship, but I understood, as they did, that they were white women and that whiteness mattered.
I am a supporter of Barack Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the United States at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to do better. It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him, cannot hear the fresh choices toward movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.
When I have supported white people, it was because I thought them the best to do the job. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change it must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.
True to my inner goddess of the three directions, however, this does not mean I agree with everything Obama stands for. We differ on important points, probably because I am older; I am a woman and person of three colours (African, Native American, European); I was raised in the south; and, when I look at the world after 64 years of life, there is not one person I wish to see suffer.
I want a grown-up attitude to Cuba, for instance, a country and people I love. I want an end to the war immediately, and I want the soldiers to be encouraged to destroy their weapons and drive themselves out of Iraq. I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behaviour to the Palestinians, and I want the people of the US to cease acting as if they don’t understand what is going on. But most of all I want someone with the confidence to talk to anyone, “enemy” or “friend”, and this Obama has shown he can do.
It is hard to relate what it feels like to see Mrs Clinton (I wish she felt self-assured enough to use her own name) referred to as “a woman” while Barack Obama is always referred to as “a black man”. One would think she is just any woman, but she is not. She carries all the history of white womanhood in the US in her person; it would be a miracle if we, and the world, did not react to this fact. How dishonest it is, to try to make her innocent of her racial inheritance.
I can easily imagine Obama sitting down and talking to any leader – or any person – in the world, with no baggage of past servitude or race supremacy to mar their talks. I cannot see the same scenario with Clinton, who would drag into 21st-century US leadership the same image of white privilege and distance from others’ lives that has so marred the country’s contacts with the rest of the world. But because Clinton is a woman and may be very good at what she does, many people (some in my own family) originally favoured her. I understand this, almost. It is because there is little memory, apparently, of the foundational inequities that still plague people of colour and poor whites.
When I offered the word “womanism” many years ago, it was to give us a tool to use, as feminist women of colour, in times like these. These are the moments we can see clearly, and must honour devotedly, our singular path as women of colour in the US. We are not white women, and this truth has been ground into us for centuries. But neither are we inclined to follow a black person, man or woman, unless they demonstrate considerable courage, intelligence, compassion and substance.
We have come a long way, sisters, and we are up to the challenges of our time, one of which is to build alliances based not on race, ethnicity, colour, nationality, sexual preference or gender, but on truth. Even if Obama becomes president, our country is in such ruin it may be beyond his power to lead us to rehabilitation. If he is elected, however, we must, as citizens of the planet, insist on helping him do the best job that can be done; more, we must insist that he demand this of us. And remember, as poet June Jordan and Sweet Honey in the Rock never tired of telling us: We are the ones we have been waiting for.
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A longer version of this article can be found at theroot.com/id/45469
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April 1, 2008 2:54 AM
Personally, I agree with more or less everything you said. However, you could have been more persuasive like mentioning some of the legislation authored or co-authored by Obama. By not being more concrete, you’ve invited the racist, sexist comments by the ignorant that have appeared already.
For a blog post that goes into more detail on how Obama stacks up to Hillary, see http://www.tinyurl.com/27e7op
April 1, 2008 3:07 AM
Thank you, Alice Walker. I have read a lot of articles and blogs about this campaign, but none has better encapsulated the reason why Obama offers the world such a precious and necessary opportunity.
What good fortune to have the chance to elect a president who truly understands that we are the people we have been waiting for, at this particular point in our history. The Bush administration has poisoned the world with misguided motivation, intended to benefit the few over the many. The people they have been ignoring desperately need to be given an opportunity to sort things out for themselves, without interference from those who have proven themselves to be hopelessly out of touch with their needs. Indeed, we need leaders who both understand those needs and will provide us with the resources we need to get on with our lives.
How amazing that we are now being offered this opportunity. Let’s hope we recognize it before it is too late.
Anyone who voted to authorise the invasion of Iraq, the most disastrous political decision of my lifetime, was out of touch. That Senator Clinton refuses to take responsibility for her part in this makes it clear that she will err again, and thus exacerbate the suffering that Ms Walker so rightly deplores. This is the kind of denial that makes one remember sniper bullets that didn’t exist. Clinton’s goddess of the past seems to be lost, and disoriented, and it makes one wonder about the other two.
The posters above are wrong, and Ms Walker is right. Obama is not perfect, but he offers us much of what we need, and a lot more besides.
April 1, 2008 3:15 AM
I am a supporter of Barack Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the United States at this time.
Good for you, Ms. Walker. Unfortunately, not all Americans are ready to be led in the post-racial, post-partisan direction that Mr. Obama offers. But it is a direction in which we must go.
April 1, 2008 3:34 AM
Texansrule is not what the rest of the world dislikes about The US but the fact you have a strong military and economy it is the way your government uses the military to exercise it’s ill perceived God given right to further it’s own military and economic interests at the expense and suffering of other countries around the world, through bribery, war, veto’s, trade embargo’s and your own brand of international terrorism.
How you can sit there and worry about what Obama will bring to the table after 8 years of Bush is simply shocking, it seems to me that people like you are the ones who fear any kind of change to the present status quo. And with the economy on the slide already will 3 years down the line no doubt be blaming Obama (when he comes to power)
Everyone of your points has been feebly thought out and you smack of some Old time bigoted white Southerner whose ideology is on the ropes, what did you expect Obama to say to Rev Wright ? Lets face it, he wasn’t far from the truth.
You seem way off track of current world political debate and purposely blind to the crimes your own government has committed on the world, or firmly camped in the ‘for the greater good’ argument until catastrophy and terror hit your own doorstep, you appear a small minded fearful man afraid that all he knows will change forever with the election of Obama. I hope I am wrong.
Get over it, you will see it will be better.
April 1, 2008 3:54 AM
I grew up white in white south africa, a racist country with no knowledge of the world outside or self knowledge. I grew up with the people like those who make the racist and nasty remarks on this site. I witnessed a change move through the country and I watched people change with the changes. The thing that saddened me most was watching vicious Mandela opponents turn into Mandela supporters overnight. My own family was torn apart by the conflict. Even before his release, my brother was convinced that Mandela was an evil instrument of the ‘communists’.
Then Mandela revealed his grace and political genius and people came around.Not only did they support him, they conveniently rewrote their political biographies. They invented new and bold tales about how they oppposed apartheid and how they were instruments of change.
I guess I should try to emulate Mandela’s empathy and I should be hopeful that all the people with nastiness within them will eventually find the compassion in their hearts to accept and forgive.
I know Obama has that empathy. So, like Alice Walker, I too believe in Obama and although I am white I believe I can also speak with some experience. Get over it whiteys, a black man can and will
lead us. And we will all be better for it. Trust me. I’ve been there.
April 1, 2008 3:58 AM
Johnmastrangelo and FearDearg – “obama is just another elite guy who went to the ivy league. he is just a pol from chicago who can give a good speech, i wish he was a big deal but he is not.” Change “Obama” to “Roosevelt” and “Chicago” to “Albany” and it expresses what you might have thought in 1932. People voted massively for FDR as a rebuke to the Republicans, not because he was a progressive; in fact, before his Presidency, he didn’t have much of a record as a progressive. As President, largely thanks to the strength of his oratory he set the Congress and the people on the road to recovery. He earned a reputation among the wealthy elite (who were too stupid to understand that he saved capitalism from itself) as a traitor to his class. Hillary is a singularly uninspiring technocrat – otherwise the US might have enacted national health coverage during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Our desperate straits call for a leader who can inspire just like FDR. Obama’s the one.
April 1, 2008 3:59 AM
It’s quite pathetic how white people who are racist always try to disguise that fact by turning things around and accusing black people of being “racist,” as if that somehow gives them license to express their own hatred. The sad part is the denial…
April 1, 2008 4:01 AM
It is obvious that America is not ready for a black president or significant change. To characterize Obama, his wife, and his pastor and Alice Walker as racist is only testament to the depth and breadth of fear and ignorance so pervasive in American political discourse surrounding race and class. This pathological lack of self reflection allowed a homicidal half-witted chimp to lead the country into a ruinous and destructive $3 trillion dollar war only to benefit the interests of the corporate oligarchy. Obama is certainly no revolutionary and his connections to corporate interests is not substantially different from any other contenders. If his presence is enough to trigger such a paranoid reaction I hold little hope for the country.
April 1, 2008 4:32 AM
Dear Brits, please ignore the horribly offensive comments from the trolls on this site. They all came over from a link on the Drudge Report, a favorite site of Rethuglicans. They are not representative of the majority of Americans. They are in fact terrified of Obama, because they know they can’t beat him, hence the hysterical postings to try to tear him down. Obama has formed a powerful and growing coalition of youth, educated Americans and people of ethnicity, and this coalition will take him all the way to the White House in November. He has raised more money than any candidate in history. He has built the most massive grass roots campaign, powered by the people, of any candidate in American history. And contrary to the postings here that accuse him of being corporate, his campaign is entirely funded by small donations from more than a million people. As Alice Walker writes here, he truly is a transformative leader. The fact that some people don’t comprehend that yet just proves her observation that some of us are still looking to the past.
April 1, 2008 4:46 AM
Dear Uniting, I read every word. Thank you to my soul for using your intellect and resources to say much of what we Obama supporters know, but won’t take the time to articulate. Your post is an example of how we can and should make positive arguments for our candidate. In my laziness and malaise, I defeatistly conclude that if I have to spell it out for some people, they aren’t likely to hear anyway. But, you’ve shown that spelling it out can be done well, and it reflects positively on us as supporters. If I may speak for Obama supporters, Obama supporters are not naive, we are sound and rational thinkers in good company, as is our candidate. Thank you for showing us in that light, Uniting.
April 1, 2008 5:02 AM
Sadly, the jump on this story in the US belongs to The Drudge Report. It should be renamed The Dregs Report, because the vast majority of its readers represent the dregs of American society. You can always tell when an article has been posted there, because the comments section becomes filled with the ignorant ranting of our shortest mental midgets.
Fortunately, these people are a dying breed. Their irrelevance to America’s future is well-known to anyone in the US that matters.
This was a great column, and gets right to the heart of the Obama/Clinton question. On the one hand we have a forthright candidate, who owns up to his blemishes and doesn’t attempt to sweep them under the rug, and on the other we have a mendacious career politician who will literally say anything to get elected, up to and including fabricating stories about non-existent foreign policy experience.
Clinton represents a dying breed of politician, one that a great many younger Americans can’t wait to see in the rearview mirror. Obama represents a different kind of politics, and a different kind of vision for Americans. I haven’t been excited about a candidate in a very long time. It’s clear from the tenaciousness with which the old guard is trying to bring him down that the establishment is terrified of an Obama presidency.
Hopefully, our citizens, and the superdelegates, will not let this opportunity to elevate our nation pass us by. Hopefully the rednecks and bigots who do nothing but consume mind-numbingly poisonous right-wing media and talk radio will cease reproducing and spreading their incredibly narrow-minded views.
There are a large number of American citizens who are frankly embarrassed by these Neanderthals in our midst. I hope that our brothers and sisters around the world recognize that we’re not all as bereft of brain cells as our countrymen posting their hateful garbage on here.
April 1, 2008 5:02 AM
“Obama will probably win the election, more due to the ineptness of his opponents rather than any talent on his part.”
You’re joking right? He rose from nowhere in four years and is now about to beat the most entrenched political machine in Democratic politics. Sure, the Clintons have made plenty of mistakes, but Obama’s campaign formulated a brilliant strategy at the outset, have executed it nearly flawlessly, and now have the Clintons and all their minions with their backs to the wall. That took brilliance.
April 1, 2008 5:21 AM
OK .. so some of the headier statements by some Obama supporters are a little much…but his statements are coherent, thoughtful, and, yes, eloquent. Since when is it suspicious to be able to make a compelling and coherent speech? Since it went out of fashion with dubya?
But, and here’s the thing, I am unaware of a single spiteful or hateful word in any speech the man ever made. Which is more than we can say for the trolls here with all their Barack “hussein” Obama innuendo and potty-mouth crap.
But keep it up guys. You remind us all of what we want to change away from. You help make the man look better by the day.
Good article too.
April 1, 2008 5:29 AM
Alice Walker; thank-you for your beautiful words. Toni Morrison was also eloquent in her support of Senator Obama. A good choice.
People talk about his lack of experience. My favorite Presidents lacked experience; Teddy Roosevelt – he started the National Park System; Abe Lincoln – Tried to end slavery(read Douglas Blackmon)and keep this country together; John F. Kennedy – Could admit when he was wrong and fought for equality. They all had good judgement, which is essential for a good president.
I believe Senator Obama has good judgement. I known Senator Clinton is a teller of tales. I do respect Senator McCain for his service to our Country. But my vote goes to Senator Obama because of his transparency of his record, his refusal to disown a person (because the world has viewed seconds of his words, without looking at the entire canvas of a human being that has produced so much good for a community in need), because of his intelligence, and yes, his words. He is wise, and straight forward and this Country needs this right now (actually we always need this). Senator Obama is not superman (remember Congress has the power) but like Czechoslovakia, after Soviet Rule, they elected an intellectual. This was good.
Finally, I am not a blogger, but I had to comment on your piece. As a white woman, I understand your comments about race(without relating to them). It is true that as a white person, I automatically get a pass in life (as long as I’m ablebodied – my brother was mentally retarded, his white skin provided no advantage). And reading some of the comments from individuals that actually think your words are racist just baffles me about how ignorant and unkind us Americans can be. I’m so sorry for these sad words from fellow countrymen of our beautiful, wonderful Country. They probally feel it is easier to go through life blindfolded.
April 1, 2008 6:42 AM
Posted by: nicemerkan
“He isn’t qualified to be a U.S. Senator. There is no legislation and nothing that he has accomplished in the Illinois or U.S. Senate. So I don’t get why I should vote for him.”
This is completely untrue.
In the Illinois Legislature he pretty much single-handedly pushed through Death Penalty reform legislation that now requires all interviews of suspects in capital crimes to be audio or video taped, severely reducing the number of false confessions, and thereby the number of false convictions.
Then there’s the Coburn-Obama Bill that created a searchable internet database of federal spending, http://www.usaspending.gov/.
Obama also sponsored an amendment that requires lobbyists to disclose the candidates, PACs, or political parties they collect or arrange contributions for. The amendment was passed by unanimous consent and attached to the Senate ethics bill, which was signed into law on September 15, 2007.
The Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative was signed into Law on January 11, 2007.
And this is just a very, VERY short list. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, seems to have gotten little more than naming a bunch of post offices passed into law. See for yourself from her own website (click the “Bills Sponsored” buttons): http://www.senate.gov/~clinton/senate/legislation/
For the record, Barack Obama also enjoys the support and endorsement of several prominent Republicans:
Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight D.: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020102621.html?nav=hcmodule
Doug Kmiec, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel (U.S. Assistant Attorney General) for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush: http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/convictions/archive/2008/03/23/endorsing-obama.aspx
Tom Trimarco, former Secretary of Administration and Finance under Mitt Romney: http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/Longtime-Bay-State-Republican-turns-Obamacan/1207015293.html
Illinois Senator Kirk Dillard: http://thinkonthesethings.wordpress.com/2007/06/25/republican-il-senator-kirk-dillard-on-barack-obama/
Make no mistake, Barack Obama is a man of substance who will bring this country together and forge positive change in ways neither Senator Clinton nor Senator McCain could ever hope to.
April 1, 2008 7:23 AM
I apologise for the personal vituperation addressed to you on this thread. You are a great writer and I thank you for all that you have taught me through your writing.
I wish I could agree about Mr. Obama, but I wonder about his lack of experience. Also, I think the Republicans should not get away with creating a mess and expecting others to clean it up.
All said and done, it is up to you and your compatriots. I only hope the best person, white or black, man or woman, wins
April 1, 2008 7:30 AM
“Omar, you and the other Muslims love Obama because finally you think you have someone who will help a billion + Muslims achieve their dream of destroying a tiny Jewish state of a little more than 5 million Israeli Jews. Obama will not be president and the Muslims will continue to be disappointed. The key to Mideast peace is in the attitudes of the Muslim world.”
No, you are wrong, I did not said anything about destroying and killing Israeli Jews, What I meant is we want a fairer and more balanced stance from the US regarding the conflict.
April 1, 2008 7:37 AM
From a British Obama fan. Go and check his website.
Check out his issues section
See that he’s funded by over a milion grassroots donors and not special interests.
Then comeback and make some informed comments….
April 1, 2008 7:55 AM
First it is quite funny reading these posts by semi-literate white men slanging off Alice Walker and insisting on their superiority.
However I also think that these comparisons with MLK and Nelson Mandela are unhelpful. While there are a few points of contact with King, Mandela is totally different. His history of going to prison for his beliefs, his writings there. His refusal to compromise even when offered early release and his incredible lack of bitterness make him something special. Incidentally if the person above who suggested a similarity with McCain does not know the difference between a bomber pilot being captured and imprisoned for a few years and Mandela’s history then honestly there is no hope.
In general false analogies from the past are not the best way to describe the present. We look through the distorting lens of our weltanschaun and claim to see resemblences in that of another person from another culture and another time, and with a different personal history. Yes I prefer Obama, but for what he is, not what he symbolises. He strikes me as being a typical middle of the road Democrat, something like a soft Conservative in European terms, and neither messiah or devil.
April 1, 2008 8:02 AM
The new racism posits that any discussion of race is racism.
April 1, 2008 8:49 AM
Obama is a man with a good heart in place.
I can not understand why TexanRules and other bashers dont jus t listen to Obamas speeches. Obama is speaking true words about the root problems of America. If America acted with good intentions around world America would really be loved. Until now America has acted around the world in a way that has gathered distrust. China, Russia, America, all made of the same wood. But if America started acting good, like putting Israel act with responjsibility and justice with its land grabbing and killing, America would be respected and loved. That is not the case now.
April 1, 2008 9:19 AM
PHEW!!! thanks for your post, i was getting really depressed. The US still is the No1 superpower, and that makes your president THE most influential person on Earth. It is therefore no surprise that other nationalities follow the race for the White House with almost as much interest as they do their own country’s elections. The policies that your administration introduces, its stance on both national and international issues, its impact on the world economy… America exerts a massive influence on every other country (as much as other countries might try to deny it!). To sit impotently by and watch the phenomenal global opportunity that is Barack Obama be wasted by ignorant hicks is frustrating beyond words. It’s good to hear that that the diatribes on this page are NOT representative of the views of the majority of Americans.
April 1, 2008 9:39 AM
i see so many red necks are commmenting. It is sad! i bet if Obama was “white” the comments will be different!
April 1, 2008 10:17 AM
I am a major Obama supporter and Democrat, albeit a straight white male Deist and former Protestant. I know, my voice is increasingly irrelevant as we may soon be eradicated from the party, similar to what many Europeans and Arabs would likely endorse of the Jews, but not quite yet, so you will have to tolerate us WASP male Democrats a bit longer as we ride out a wave of fetishism and exoticism (I don’t mind that part of it actually, especially with the ladies, my demographic is becoming the “new black” at many L.A. clubs and lounges that I frequent.) I am a big fan by the way, of your literary work and most of your political views (and yes, that includes fair treatment for Palestinians, as that seems to be the only issue that is discussed on the Guardian boards), and find The Color Purple to be one of the great epistolary novels of all time. Yes, all time. I crap on the Modern Library and the list trend it started.
Your opinion piece brings back a lot of good memories: keggers, getting laid for the first time, and competitive sports. These things all happened 15+ years ago, when I was in late high school and early college, the first time I was exposed to progressive politics and philosophies in detail and an academic context. So thanks for the bit of nostalgia, but I think next time I’ll download a Lemonheads or Gang Starr track. America has problems, trust me I know, but you and some of the old guard of African-American leaders are way out of touch (like Pluto, man!), and the only way Obama will lose is if you keep writing things like this. #1: Your piece is out of date, and when you over-emphasize the race frame, inaccurate (especially a two-tone frame). Watch Austin Powers I please, a lot has changed since the 60s. #2: It hurts Obama politically. You scare the people in the middle of the road, and not just whites, but Latinos and Asians. Do you notice you don’t even mention them? They’re 20% of the country, and they vote for Obama in far lesser numbers than whites do in Dem primaries.
So why write this? Ego, boredom, I’m not sure. (That’s for both me and you both. You can’t tell from this, but I’m an aspiring writer as well. Matter of fact if you like this, maybe you could pass on something to your literary agent? I haven’t written much lately to be honest, too many distractions, major blockage. You have to wonder why I’m on a UK board at 2 in the morning on a Monday.)
Your experience and mine were very different. I had it a lot harder to start with. Joking, I joke sometimes, not very well, but I joke. But seriously, the experiences I mentioned 15 years ago all happened with a mixed race crowd, and not just blacks and whites. America can never fully atone for what it did to black people, you can’t undo a history like that. And not everyone will accept the people’s history in the first place. But we can create a new present and future, that’s all we’re trying to do here. So let Obama win, that’s all I’m asking.
And when’s your next novel coming out? I’m too cheap to buy it, but will read a library copy, or at least skim a copy and tell my friends I read it and it was fabulous. (But I really did read Color Purple and a few of your stories, and meant what I said about them.)
April 1, 2008 10:24 AM
For an excellent article on why Obama is different read Jonathan Raban’s piece in the London Review of Books (available online – just google LRB).
I agree with Alice Walker about Obama, although I don’t share her general view of the world.
I’ve been really disappointed by The Guardian’s approach to reporting Obama’s progress (‘Hilary loses…'; ‘Hilary won’t give up’ etc) so much via Hilary, Hilary and more Hilary. I find it bizarre. Why is Hilary seen as having some right to rule? I’ve compared and contrasted the Independent and Guardian coverage of Obama and have now moved over to the Indy as my main paper. The Guardian’s tendency to talk about Obama and race in such negative terms has been quite an eyeopener. Sometimes you have to vote with your feet, speaking of which…
April 1, 2008 10:56 AM
WoW! I didn’t expect such an onslaught of white racist defensive comments? I happened to be present at my first pre convention speak of any party in my 25 years of California living. I attended Obama’s talk in San Francisco last august, at the invitation of the Bay area’s business women. I was very moved and swept up by the experience. Yes it did have a feeling of great hope, coupled with the most lax security. Even though I have many reservations with regards to Obama’s centrist position. Humanists like myself with overt socialist tendencies, must oppose warmongering lunatics like McCain. I have been waiting for his bid for some time now. Anything but McCain, preferably Obama to the RICH Dominatrix of the Democratic party. I live in hope that peace shall one day reign on earth! LoveX23
= = =
berettacx4 – – – 5:48 am:
“After I read this and stopped laughing, I asked myself ‘Who the hell is Alice Walker?’ Never heard of her…”
Alice Walker is one US America’s internationally best known and wisest writers. It’s a bit unsettling to see her enthusing about a corporate war candidate for USS business-as-usual but her superior insight still shines through.
April 1, 2008 11:27 AM
The USA is in trouble , thats for sure. In the past military might was enough to be a world leading nation.
Those days are over, Irak proves it.
So , the USA needs a leader who can bring the nation in a new “uplift”. Sen.McCain is branded as the new man “because he knows how to lead a nation in war”. What war ?? Where ?
It is still the old fashioned idea of the 20th century ,bad for the future of the USA. Forget that sort of “leaders”.
It is not for nothing that americans brand China as a main enemy. The new american leader must be able to cope with the economic developments in the future , he should not fight “old” wars.
USA , wake up. Stop dreaming of the past.
And it might well be that a young and bright person as Obama is be the right man for the moment.
April 1, 2008 11:32 AM
A very good article indeed, unfortunately the racist morons that still inhabit America have sullied these pages with their filth. Hey morons: I have some bad news for you, your racist, torture loving, rightwing media controlled, corporate owned, militarist, fascist admiring, culturally depraved land, is finished – you’re history morons, especially the morons from Texas. The dollar soon won’t be worth the paper it’s written on. You speak about the greatness of American military power and how Obama will reduce this, but you yourselves are gutless, politically and ethically spineless. America is now held in contempt throughout the world and you don’t care, you take pride in it even. You are political morons because you are ignorant of what the Republic used to stand for. The Founding Fathers racist though they were, at least created a Republic, (which had a Constitution) which had the potential to develop into a real Democracy, but it never did. But even this is gone, replaced by one of the ugliest empires to ever exist – what Bush has done in Iraq is equal to anything Hitler did in Poland. But morons, your days are numbered: you’re even too dumb to run an empire. And when your filthy empire is gone, there will be no beautiful Roman aqueducts: neither will you bequeath the world as the Brits did: the noble game of cricket, a game beyond your primitive understanding. There will be nothing left but a grubby chain of Burger Kings. And the world will say with one voice: “good riddance to bad rubbish”.
April 1, 2008 11:32 AM
The comments here shows that there is still a great divide between whites and non whites. King’s dream is still a dream and nothing more.
April 1, 2008 11:35 AM
1. Once again it is telling that many of the criticisms here are ad hominems. Interesting isn’t it that so many find this a valid form of “criticism”.
2. It is also interesting that there is little discussion of what experience Clinton really has. As far as I can tell Clinton doesn’t have much more experience than Obama. It is also clear that Clinton is running on the coattails of her husband. Isn’t that interesting.
3. Clinton is a baby boomer and carries all the baggage of the baby boom generation. This, along with the fact that she is running on the coattails of her husband and is yet another example of the US’s political aristocracy, are reasons alone to vote against her. Isn’t it interesting that so much of her support appears to come from old baby boomers and crypto racists.
April 1, 2008 11:39 AM
I find it of no surprise that Alice has drawn out the ever-present negativity and ignorance of people who have little, or no understanding of other people’s experiences of life. Wow, how the guns are out to get her on this subject, where she is clearly expressing a view of the world through the eyes of a black woman who, at the age she is, has obviously seen many a change as far as the rights of people of colour etc go. To say that she is racist is not only wrong, but also shows a lack of the possibility that you may just try and empathise for one second with what many people have experienced throughout the ages – what, because you haven’t been effected, does that then mean you are unable to open your eyes and your ears to something different? She is clearly expressing a positive vision of the future for the US if Barak Obama where to achieve the status of ‘President of the United States’ – and I think it is clear to most that a performing monkey would do a better job than the present ‘joke’ of a president! And to those who feel that Condaleeza Rice would have been a more appropriate person for Alice to support – I think it is worth mentioning that although her credentials are pretty spectacular, you have to question the sanity of a woman of colour standing alongside one of the worst leaders in world history, smiling and pandering to his disastrous decisions championing his causes, and still remaining able to sleep at night!!! this is not someone to look up to as far as i’m concerned, whatever her race or sex. Obama makes alot of people uncomfortable, because many like to stick to what they know! I still believe that McCain will win the election because lets face it – people love an old war veteran – there’s nothing better to get the old patriotic juices flying. And just a comment to Texan’s Rule (who I see has had their comment deleted) – not everyone hates the US, but most people I know are certainly not jealous of the US. You have a severe lack of understanding about the role your Country as far as the rest of the world is concerned – there is a world outside of your country and you’d do well to use your passport to go and see it – I forgot, you probably don’t have one!!!!!!
April 1, 2008 12:06 PM
If the United States ever needed an injection of morality, it is now. The atrocities the US has been involved in during the Bush adminstration has wrecked the United States’ reputation … from Americans torturing suspects in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib jail to the CIA waterboarding terro suspects and the holding without trial of so many without trial in Guantanomo Bay. Barack Obama may well become the United States’ Nelson Mandela, but he will find the going tough if he is elected president. As far as I know, not one member of the US Congress has a son fighting in Iraq. And the talk is of the 4,000 US troops who have been killed so far. What about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The US has always been an insular country and is not alone in terms of self-interest. But the US prides itself on being the world’s leader and is expected to live up to high standards. I would love to see Obama win the primaries and then beat the 100-year-Iraq-war John McCain to the presidency. What can one say of Hillary Clinton … just another liar who has been caught telling pathetic untruths. Of the three, Obama is the only contender with class and a sense of justice.
April 1, 2008 12:22 PM
I was trying to figure out how being elected to the US Senate was anything like being imprisoned on Robben Island, but then I thought: “Hey, it’s April Fool.”
Clever, very clever.
April 1, 2008 12:26 PM
I perfectly agree with Alice on this article. Obama represents the best hope that America has in redeeming its very battered image and its economic downturn. He is a very intelligent and thoughtful leader. Surely he would be a breath of fresh air after the George Bush years. I do not hold anything against Hillary but there is nothing spectacular about her other than the fierce and unbridled ambition that has characterised the Clintons over the years. Those that oppose Barack do not have anything concrete against him other than his skin colour. I know several republicans that genuinely hope that Obama would pick the nomination so they can vote for him in the general elections. As far as we are concerned, the democratic party nomination is certainly a foregone conclusion, Obama will win and there is nothing Hillary or anyone else can do about it.
April 1, 2008 12:32 PM
This is a woman who demands our respect. She has always seemed a bearer of wisdom. I think she’s got it right about Barak Obama.
April 1, 2008 12:33 PM
As I have commented elsewhere, Obama is too good for America.
April 1, 2008 12:39 PM
These Troglodytes and knuckle scrappers from the Drudge Report crack me up… Here are a few facts for you dim wits to chew on.
1. Alice Walker is the author of a book called the Color Purple. This book describes in graphic detail the brutality of a BLACK MAN towards the BLACK WOMEN around him… so much so that a lot black intellectuals deemed the book to be an ANTI BLACK MALE diatribe. So she can hardly be the RACIST you twits claim… can she?
2. This book has also been made into film by Steven Spielberg (ever heard of him?) starring Oprah Winfrey (ever heard of her??) and Danny Glover (how about him?). Yet some of you have never heard of it … and appear proud of the fact. Out of curiousity..What is it that you guys read exactly?
3. On Israel… There are lots and lots of people, including a fair few number of Israelis who have Israel’s best interests at heart who, nevertheless, recognise that its very existence is imperiled by its current policy towards the Palestinians. The Likud vision is not the only JEWISH vision on Israel – not by a long chalk.
4. Obama is the best candidate running in your elections Why? Try these reasons for size… a) He is the only one with the intelligence to call time on a stupid and inept policy towards Cuba that has failed for the best part of 50 years.. a policy that has achieved the very opposite of its stated aim but which your lily-livered politicians are too scared to change for fear of upsetting a bunch goons in Miami. But hey! why not carry on with the stupid willy waving that passes for Foreign policy? b) He appears to be the only candidate who understands that capitalism needs rules and stringent regulations or else you’ll end up with a mess like the Sub Prime mire you find yourselves in right now.. AGAIN AND AGAIN
(c) He had the wisdom and courage to say that the war in Iraq was stupid, moronic, unjustifiable and would turn out to be costly in the extreme… 4000 dead soldiers, tens of thousands of maimed young men and women; and a Trillion dollars later… Boy! was he ever RIGHT??!!
Finally.. If you don’t listen to him and get past your infantile obsession with race that blights your fine country… it’s not just your jobs that will end up overseas… it’s your influnce too. Unless you can educate ALL of your Children to to the level that the Europeans and Japanese take for granted you’ll not only lose jobs, you’ll lose the ability to even compete! Right now, the Arabs, that you fear so much, are buying up chunks of your best banks, best Real Estate, best manufacturing… infact they are the ones keeping your economy afloat because you insist on living beyond your means. Obama understands that there’s nothing morally superior about low taxes any more than there’s anything inherently praise-worthy about high taxes… You need the RIGHT LEVEL OF TAXATION… and a so-called first world nation that can’t even guarantee the health care of it’s citizens cannot begin to claim to have the RIGHT LEVEL OF TAXATION.
My own view for what it’s worth is an outsider.. is that Obama is waaaaaaaay too good for America
April 1, 2008 12:51 PM
It’s nice to see someone say they like Obama because he’s a good candidate with strong policies that they identify with rather than place him in the white-guilt narrative that seems to have been commonplace among Guardian commentators re his campaign. His vision for America and his ability to get it done is what’s drawn me to him as a candidate rather than any ‘starry eyed idealism’ as one poster on hillaryis44 said. A group of people who support Obama as the realisation of some romantic notion of politics may exist but it is by no means the majority of his supporters any more than Clinton’s support can be said to be only old feminist ‘womyn’ with daddy issues or McCain’s the ‘hoo-ra’ brigade. Unfortunately the lunatic fringe of any candidates supporters always shouts the loudest and so tend to become seen as the majority by those who support the other candidate, this does us all injustice.
April 1, 2008 12:57 PM
So many adverse comments. Some of ‘em a bit nasty, even racist I fear. But nobody’s denying the Man has CHARISMA.
The only one with even more is… guess it …our very own Gordon Brown.
April 1, 2008 12:58 PM
The comments in response to this article have truly shocked me. I thought what AW wrote was honest and brilliant. I’m not even American and it spoke to me! Some people obviously just don’t get what Alice is trying to say, and that’s a shame.
April 1, 2008 1:00 PM
Even funnier still is this idea that if Obama were a white man he’d have been out of the race for President by now… Really?? Let’s examine this claim… A white guy with Obama’s eloquence?; A white guy with Obama’s intelligence?; A white guy with Obama’s grace under pressure who was able to craft and deliver a speech like obama did on race?? A white guy with his charm? … such a white guy running against a woman weighed down with Hilary Clinton’s negatives and McCain’s wooden-ness??? You actually believe that such a white guy will be out of the race by now??… I reckon that the Steroids they put in American beef must mess up some of your brains. Jeez… it’s all one can do to get some white Americans to accept that Elvis is really dead!! A white Obama will waltz to the Presidency. EAAAAAAAAAASY. he’ll be JFK, Elvis and Larry bird rolled into one!
April 1, 2008 1:02 PM
I hesitate to use the word brave to describe a piece of writing given the daily struggle of many people on the planet for simple survival. But it must take real courage Alice to raise the issues you have discussed knowing the attack dogs are waiting to vent their spleen.
Peace to you sister – keep drawing on that wonderful inner strength.
April 1, 2008 1:11 PM
To all those saying Alice Walker is living in a fantasy world by saying America is in ruins – you must be Americans living in America. Step outside of your bubble. The whole world is laughing at the mess that’s become of your country. I challenge you to prove that Barack Obama would be a worse president that George W Bush.
April 1, 2008 1:26 PM
Aha, since we’re on the topic of people killing their own people, I don’t see any African nations in list of countries with the top 10 murder rate, but I do see the US at number 6. Add to that the US’s number 3 position on the list of countries by number of execution, plus the thousands of poor and young Americans(all races) that are packed off by your stupid politicians to die for their lies… what did I hear about a mess of a nation where people are killing each other…???
The comments on this article make me wonder two things 1) Barack Obama is too good a candidate for the Americans 2) Democracy as a system is too good for the Americans. It wouldn’t matter so much if your democratic choices affected only you, the problem is they affect the rest of the world. Proof of the pie is GW Bush being voted into office. TWICE!!
April 1, 2008 1:29 PM
Wow. Good to see the U.S. hasn’t changed. Don’t bother with the issues at hand- boil it down to race and begin insulting each other. If the rest of the world has wondered what it’s like to discuss the issues in America this thread is a perfect example of how it works (or doesn’t work).
April 1, 2008 1:31 PM
Alice Walker, one of the great FICTION writers of our time
April 1, 2008 1:41 PM
The fact is that, in her own name, Hillary Rodham couldn’t have gotten anywhere. She finished at the bottom of her law school class, failed the DC bar exam, and only by following Bill to Arkansas was she able to get a job, pass the Arkansas bar exam that 85% of the takers passed, and — because of Bill — begin to get notice.
She is a liar and as her Bosnial sniper tale shows, not a very smart one.
She has betrayed the principles of her party to gain support from ultra-right wingers like Richard Mellon Scaife. Does anyone actually believe that such support comes free?
With such a track record, where would anyone but the wife of a former president be? Did you say “long gone and forgotten”?
By contrast, Barack Obama, given his race, his name, and his family, would never have been noticed except for his very unusual intelligence — not only of the mind but of the heart.
He showed us a new kind of politician when he went to Southern Illinois with the same openness, the same message, the same vision that he presented to South Chicago. Here was a man who was trustworthy, real.He was a man who could unite people. He is indeed right for America, but those who gave us the B-C regime and have been giving us too much like that for all too long, will not back down easily.The disgust most feel toward Bush and the Republicans make that party a poor bet now. Thus Scaife, Murdock, et al., will now be pushing their agenda with the Democrats and Clinton.
Hillary Clinton says many things, some true and good. But considering the nature of her obligations, how can any true Democrat believe and support her? The only reasons I hear are gender and (shhhh!) the R-word.
April 1, 2008 1:43 PM
I’m genuinely surprised by the tone of a lot of the responses here.
I’ve been following the Democratic primary closely – both the Clinton and Obama campaigns. I’m a British Obama supporter and have been trying to do my bit re ‘clicking’ and blogging in the campaign.
The blogging involves trying to educate and inform posters across the states in newspapers because there is a misconception out there – pushed by the right wing media and the Clintons that he is a ‘muslim’, therefore ‘terrorist’ sympathiser and now through a few dumb comments by Rev Wright which were actually a quote from an ex mid east ambassador Edward Peck, the slur is that he’s a black supremisist. But that’s probably too much rational information for most people on here…
As for financing Obama, over 90% of the funding – nearly $200million so far has come from the grassroots over the internet. He has not take any lobbyist or PAC money. When people point out that he has taken X thousands from big corporations, this is bunched money by individual employees. However anyone is free to reasearch this the information is freely available.
The reason I’m surprised is that maybe I should have ben blogging on the Guardian – who’d have thought it?
For me, and the majority of his supporters we couldn’t care less what color he is. But it’s understandable that it has been, and is becoming less so, an issue for americans. Alice Walker’s perspective is also understandable but that’s just one facet of what is an incredible campaign and opportunity for America and for international relations.
The Guardian has obviously not been educating it’s readership. Maybe the paper should start publishing his take on the issues and how he would address them. Anyone can visit:
…and find out for themselves. Maybe that’s too much to ask of the intellectual Guardian bloggeratti…
Sometimes you need to look outside your own backgarden for real change and hope to learn something.
April 1, 2008 1:48 PM
I can’t believe the racist comments on this thread.
An internationally recognised woman writer makes an appeal to our humanity and so many above are proud to declare their lack of it.
I suppose these are the same people who denounce the Rev. Wright’s apparent racism.
Tell me something, why is it ok for you to be racist but not ok for black people to criticise white behaviour and attitudes?
April 1, 2008 2:03 PM
Many times we look at ourselves and want to be ideal citizens, however our actions have always failed us.
The writer mentions truth in the fact that minorities have always been marginalized in the US, she may be a little harsh towards Clinton. But in my view she is actually describing the a group of Americans who judge persons not by the content of their character, but by the color of the skin. Considering the gains Obama has made from when he launched his campaign, it is evident that there are some who listen to the 2 great Democratic candidates and see that he is a leader worth giving a chance.
In my view, we should not stereotype individuals, but listen to them with open minds and then make decisions. I believe if this was the case, the Democratic party would already have a candidate.
April 1, 2008 2:06 PM
deb1: ‘As for financing Obama, over 90% of the funding – nearly $200million so far has come from the grassroots over the internet. He has not take any lobbyist or PAC money. When people point out that he has taken X thousands from big corporations, this is bunched money by individual employees.’
I think that needs expnading on a bit and to ask questions about what precisely it is that encourages ‘individual employees’ of oil companies to make donations to politicians:
‘Obama doesn’t take money from PACs. He also doesn’t take money from lobbyists.
‘But he does accept money from executives and other employees of oil companies and two of his fundraisers are oil company executives. As of Feb. 29, Obama’s presidential campaign had received nearly $214,000 from oil and gas industry employees and their families, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Clinton had received nearly $307,000 from industry workers and their families and Republican Sen. John McCain, the likely GOP presidential nominee, received nearly $394,000, according to the center’s totals.
‘Two of Obama’s fundraisers are Robert Cavnar, the chairman and chief executive of Houston-based Mission Resources Corp., and George Kaiser, the president and CEO of Tulsa-based Kaiser-Francis Oil Co.
In January and February alone, Obama received nearly $18,000 from Exxon Mobil workers, according to Federal Election Commission records. Most of the donations were of $250 or less; the money came from workers ranging from executives to engineers to geologists to shift supervisors. Overall, he has raised about $34,000 from Exxon Mobil workers since the beginning of his campaign. Exxon Mobil employees have given Clinton about $16,000 since the beginning of last year.’
This is interesting too:
April 1, 2008 2:06 PM
While having a great deal of respect for Alice Walker, we simply have to move on from the theory of enlightened individuals transforming oppressive political structures.
The much praised president Clinton attacked the US poor, armed the Kurd-massacring Turks, bombed a life-giving pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, increased the national security budget and arms to Israel… On the subject of colour, Bush snr appointed an Arfican-American as a supreme court judge, but African-American males are almost 6 times as likely to be incarcerated as whites…
The American people have to understand that the president is the figurehead of an aggressive imperial economic system – with the most aggressive, economically and socially divisive consequences domestically – driven by the interests of the US-based corporate capital elite.
The American people, like us Europeans, need to break the mould and establish democracy.
April 1, 2008 2:43 PM
April 1, 2008 12:33 PM
“As I have commented elsewhere, Obama is too good for America.”
I share your views to a point. It is true that the USA population seem to be afraid of new things. Fear of communism cost them developing a universal healhcare; the US cities are among the most unsafe in the developed world, roads and bridges are now crumbling, the war in Iraq is eating away the over 10 billion dollars a month, the housing market and the rest of economy is in free fall downward turn; the dollar is in a steep decline; the George W. Bush is the worse leader in the USA’s entire history. And, then, suddenly, out of nowhere the unexpected happened! Barack Obama, a son of a white radical woman and a black African man from the 1960s generation appears on the political scene!
He has all the necessary qualities of a great president, skills, intelligence, courage, determination and the will to unite his country’s fractured politics, restore the US prestige in the world stage. What is the media in the US has done so far: attack him, well not always but almost always, the media in the US has been trying to diminish Barack Obama’s greatness. But, to their defense, many in the democratic party, and outside the party, are backing him over Hillary Clinton. So, this might be a turning point in American political culture.
The media has often focused on vicious right wing attacks of Barack Obama- he had to fight rumors that he is a ‘closeted Muslim’ because that fact his father is a black man from Kenya. Hillary’s boomer surrogates, most of whom are his mother’s generation [Obama, mother, Staley Ann Dunham was born in 1942 and died of Ovarian cancer in 1995, Hillary was born in 1947, so she is only 5 years younger than Barack's mother].
However, unlike Hillary, Barack Obama’s adventurous, idealist mother, Stanly Ann Dunham, lived the true ideals of the 1960s generation. So, it is fair looking at this primaries is as a struggle between the progressive left and the reactionary right but also as a struggle between the worse aspects of the 1960w left and those representing its hopeful potential to bring about social, economic and political transformation in a massive scale. Barack Obama represents[via his mother] the progressive hopes of the left while Hillary, a war mongering woman who voted for the Iraq war, represents the worse aspects of the boomers generation.
April 1, 2008 2:43 PM
Why dnt the Americans take a little time to think about their impacty on the world. Obama does not seem to think that everything america thinks it is true or nescessarilly good. He is the only candidate with a batts chance in hell of increasing American influence by reducing Amarican posturing.
Americans are only concerned with someone ready to answere the phone at 4am and make split second decisions. The rest of the world wants a US President who will use dipomacy in advance to avid the 4 am call.
April 1, 2008 2:47 PM
Dear Drudge Report readers,
I appreciate that you’re well out of your depth here, but at least try using a spell-checker (UK English to be polite, after all we did invent the language) and please try and refrain from using unnecessary language. After that you might want to work on formulating intelligent arguments.
Your poor country clearly has many problems. Have you considered regime change?
Alice – the Mandela comparison is over the top and you could’ve done more to substantiate your support for Obama with examples of the policies he’s helped push through. Otherwise I’m in complete agreement with you.
The amount of racist comments here sickens me, but sadly reminds me of my time in the US. This bunch of neanderthals make Mugabe sound tolerant.
April 1, 2008 3:08 PM
Let me say first that I regard Obama as the most talented and appealing American national politician to come along in decades.
He has a sense of grace that only emphasizes the basically sleazy nature of that other recent intellectually bright politician, Bill Clinton.
But dramatic change to America is not possible.
Its rigid Constitution with many anti-democratic provisions, its intense Civic Religion Cult, the illiberal nature of much of its press and public education, and the absolute rule of money in politics – these and other factors make the United States a mighty slow ship to turn.
What’s more important is the relatively weak nature of the office of the president. Many foreign observers think of the office as the most powerful in the world, but that is only true in war.
In domestic affairs, the office of president is actually quite a weak one. Even in aspects of foreign affairs, it is the Senate that has real power, and just look at the crinkled, fat, jaded faces that make up that body.
Obama’s own party is barely progressive anymore. Its small majority includes horrific figures who are Republican in all but name.
I believe Obama will get the nomination and will win the election, but that will only be because Americans are sick with seven years of stupidity and blood. Once Obama is sworn in, his ability to do anything of real consequence will be tremendously limited.
He faces, moreover, a set of disasters left behind by Bush. The room to do anything dramatic will be almost non-existent.
One hesitates to even state the following dark thought, too, but America has a history not unlike Italy of the early modern era with the Borgias and other nasty clans. The last determined, progressive politician who moved people greatly in America died in the street, and a few years later his brother died the same way.
April 1, 2008 3:08 PM
Since people have been prattling on about Obama supporters having no concrete reason to like him bar himself I thought I’d give some reasons why I support him. Note this isn’t comprehensive and is more concerned about why I support him over Hilary, trying to get into a debate of him over McCain invokes the whole left/centerist/right discussion which would require a much longer discussion than the 30 min posting limit and 5000 char word length avaliable here
- He has always stood against the Iraq war, Clinton didn’t
- He is a strong supporter of net neutrality
- As someone with a background in constitutional law I believed he is the best candidate to reign in the abuse of executive power and trampling of US citizens’ rights that has occured under Bush, given the naked ambition for power of Clinton’s campaign I don’t trust her to do this
- He has a better chance of winning than Clinton does
You might think this is a short list, I agree he shares many positions with Clinton, but on those positions, pro-choice, for UHC, troop withdrawal, anti-torture, better regard for the American middle and lower classes and so on I think Obama’s arguments in support of them are more nuanced, he has a better machine and better funding, and he isn’t such a poisoned candidate as Hilary is, there’s little to stick on him, the Wright controversy is only a big story in the minds of his opponents wheras there seems to be a lot of inconsistency and outright lying coming from Clinton’s campaign.
Obama is a fantastic orator, he’s got a great support network, a lot more money and so I believe he is better placed than Clinton to beat McCain and implement the policies I would like to see in a US government. I do think their policy platforms are very similar, but where differences occur I favour Obama’s angle to Clintons.
April 1, 2008 3:09 PM
Personally I enjoyed reading Alice Walker’s comment – although I am an ardent Obama supporter
There are also several thoughtful comments addressing both sides of the debate (in terms both of candidates and parties)but what saddens me is the inability of such a large number of contributors to comment without being (a) downright rude and/or (b) offensive – or indeed being so offensive that their comments have had to be deleted in part or in whole.
Is this really representative of the quality of debate in US politics today?
If it is then things are even worse than I know them to be already.
Whatever it may think the world needs a strong USA as a force for justice and fairness. As of today the US ability to carry out this role is severely compromised by (among other things) the damage to its credibility following its conduct over recent years (and that applies to other countries too).
The election of Barack Obama – if he is able/allowed to deliver on his agenda – can do much to restore that credibility, and – even ignoring for now all the other areas where his agenda would bring benefits to the US internally – that alone is one good strong reason for hoping for his candidacy to succeed
Yes there are debates to be had around deliverability. Yes let’s have these debates – but, please, lets have them at an intelligent, mutually respectful level, instead of the kind of comment posted in some places here, which simply damages your country and its image even further.
April 1, 2008 3:15 PM
Dear Ms Walker
First may I say that I admire your work. I am also an African American female. At first I did not care for Barack Obama. I did not think that he could or would be a good candidate for the presidency. But I opened my mind and realized that the change he is advocating is needed.
Your article was right on. And of course some of white America does not understand or wants to understand. That is why they were so upset with Rev Wrights comments. It also is the top of arrogance to believe that a nation that has been held down and is still being held down is happy about it and has no anger. It always amazes me when some white Americans tells minorities to get over it??? That is very easy to say when the discrimination is not happening to you.
I am from a small town in Michigan that is predominately White. I went to school where there were only 8 African Americans to 200 whites. I made white friends and have white friends but I realize that they could and never will understand the positions that I have taken. My parents had to have a white man buy the house that I grew up in and sell it to them because they would not sell to African Americans. I am old enough to remember colored only bathrooms and to have seen my fathers manhood questioned by bigoted police officers.
I am voting for Barack Obama because he is a leader not because he is African American. By the way he is just as much white as he is African American. And he does not share the common thread most African Americans have which is slavery in our family heritage.
The point I am making is that this is America. Veterans of all colors like my husband and Rev Wright fight daily so that we can have these exchanges. Maybe it is time that we embrace our differences because in doing that we will eventually learn to appreciate more fully the diversity of this great country of ours.
April 1, 2008 3:26 PM
Thank you for a thoughtful post. Although I am not a woman of color, I wonder if our years also bring us to support Sen. Obama. Today, in the winter of my life, Sen. Obama brings me hope. His background, heritage and experience speak to the young, not only in the U.S. but in the world. By energizing the young, he has brought hope to the old — hope that our country can get back on track and help lead a troubled world. He has exhibited an ability and desire to move a stagnant mindset toward something positive and decent. Our domestic problems have been covered over by waging war and posturing. Fear has come to rule us. Sen. Obama’s world view and practical steps for turning our lives in a more positive direction are qualities our leaders have lacked. I am grateful this man has stepped up to take on this daunting task. It will not be easy.
April 1, 2008 3:35 PM
Thanks for the honest article, Alice. Obama represents the hope that America will finally actually cross that bridge to the 21st century that Bill Clinton talked about years ago. We can finally leave our retrograde posture and approach the future with intelligence and empathy. I am somewhat disheartened by some of the posts to this article. Some people seem to think that we should select a resume rather than a leader. For my part, I appreciate the fact that Obama is clearly highly intelligent, has an open mind willing to listen to many different points of view, and has the judgment to make up his own mind. I further like the fact that he is a relatively young man with young children who clearly has a stake in a more peaceful and prosperous world. I love the fact that although he has had a privileged and elite education, he has not had a privileged and elite life and has not opted for material privileges as a first option. Because he is not a politician of long years’ tenure, he doesn’t “owe” as many people – he doesn’t have a cadre of “fat cats” threatening Democratic officials – and because his campaign is substantially supported “bottom up” rather than “top down”, his broad base of support is less tainted by people trying to purchase access and power.
As for Hillary Clinton, I agree wholeheartedly with Walker. Many people have conveniently forgotten that Black people were ardent supporters of the Clintons throughout Bill’s administration (remember that that is why Rev. Wright visited the White House!) and were intitially favorably inclined towards Hillary, a brilliantly talented woman, even as they preferred the freshness of Obama. Unfortunately, Clinton chose to vaporize that enormous reservoir of goodwill with Black voters and in particular with Black women voters. The race-baiting, deceitfulness and dishonesty feels like a slap in the face. Clinton had the opoprtunity to be a truly transformational candidate, but did not have the faith to do so and has relied on old, tired and divisive campaign tactics to further her campaign. Should Clinton somehow become the nominee, it will for voters be yet another situation where we will hold our noses and vote for the lesser of two evils.
April 1, 2008 3:39 PM
Perhaps, critics of Obama many of who prefer Hillary and Bill Clinton who prefer McCain to Obama might want to read this Mother Jones piece and the video link there in. He promises 100 years of war with Iraq and nuking of Iran. He seems to have problem with facts so sent; Libierman’s is now acting as a MCCain’s version of Karl Rove politics! It is creeply!
April 1, 2008 3:40 PM
“Obama is not America’s Nelson Mandela, he is America’s Vladamir Lenin, and his destructive socialist agenda would wreck the USA economy”
Jesus dude, I’d like the same pill you’re taking! You do live in a parallel reality (101). Obama = Lenin? A guy with a socialist agenda? Have you got any clue about what you’re saying?
And sorry, the US is already wrecked, thanks to George Bush, senior and junior…
April 1, 2008 3:51 PM
I wish that I could find more hope in Obama than I do. On the one hand, whatever else is the case, I do think that it is significant that he is able (and willing) to speak as he does. British readers may not be fully aware of how remarkable it is to hear an American politician speaking in nunaced paragraphs rather than in grunting sound bites (as in, “Heckuva job, Brownie”, “Bring ‘em on!” or, more recently and from another source, “So?”). All of that said, I fear that for me there are only two reasons to vote for Obama — Clinton and McCain. Certainly none of the effusive, abstract, unevidenced proclamtions of Alice Walker give me more reason for confidence than I had before I read her piece. But we have the choices we have, so on April 22 I will vote for Obama, and hope to be able to do so again in November.
April 1, 2008 4:07 PM
first, i seen every comment that was made towards Barack Obama, you guys say this because your uneducated and you really don’t know what your talking about, you either a woman who wants to see a woman in the office, your either a older american who don’t want change, your either a black person who voting for hillary only because you want to be white just like she is. see i am tired of the old politics and the old ways of america, i am a young adult whos wants change in this country, i don’t want the same old people back in the office again, come on, what kind of change is that, none in my eyes. see BARACK OBAMA,stands for change and he can bring this country together and has the experinces to back it up, OBAMA been in the political eye ever since 1992, so who ever said he has been in it for two years is wrong(go do your homework,baby) another thing is, he has passed over 800 bills that important(gun control, education,healthcare,etc, things that matter) some that even has his name on it, he also cares about children, wanting to make sure they recieve the right education, all HILLARY Is worried about is the older americans, she is not concerned about childrens issues at all, he is a down to earth person, she is not, she is more concerned about the suits she wears, then the younger generation, just because you are a wife in the WHITE HOUSE dosen’t make you qualified, half you that are saying this things, are blind, she is an exaggerater, very dishonest, and is nasty person, for those that support that kind of mess,you just as bad as she is, i am not trying to put her down, but she doesn’t have a good track record, she doesn’t even have any experince what so ever,she passed 20 bills in her time as being a senator, all in which was minor things, like honoring people or giveing awards to athletic leagues, i don’t want a president who don’t have good track record over me, i am going to ask you guys(clinton supporters) a question, say that your child came home after a game they played,and they lost, they were upset and felt like they should have won,are you a going to tell them the best thing to do to win is to beat up on your opponent, use a stick to hit them in the knee cap to win,that is the strategy that she is using, i am turned off with hillary, her time in oval office is over and it is now Obama, he is the change for the 21st century, so stop hatin’
April 1, 2008 4:12 PM
Time too for fools to think instead of regurgitating worn out thoughts and sarcasms.
How about this?
“The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch”.
April 1, 2008 4:16 PM
One would wish that Alice Walker’s of this world, after returning from Mexico after all these years would just not indluge this comparison of an African Politician and an American because they both happen to be black men. Mandela owes his responsibilities to South Africa and end of apartheid in that country.
Some of these white conservative that compare Mandela to the likes of McCain are not only way of line but rather hypocrites of the first order. McCain, has a very dubious record in Vietnam. His is an admiral’s son and received preferential treatment all along. He was nothing but a gun ho pilot that is responsible for destruction of two fighters planes. After he was shot down on account of his own mistakes, he was literally saved from drowning by a Vietnamese peasant farmer, whom for 3 decades did not even acknowledge or thanked him and his Senate office dismissed as some crack pot, till a reporter produced evidence etc. McCain has no other heroic military record other then spending the hideous unnecessary war as a POW.
Obama for all intends and purposes has more primary votes then all the republican candidates put together. The Republicans in this country are less then a 1/3 majority. Even Hillary has more votes then all the republicans put together. But this country virtue of this rotten to the core two party system, leaves much to be desired and republicans are not in form or way entitled to half or more then half representation in the political process or representation in this country.
There is absolutely nothing wrong to elect a woman President, but Hillary with his own brand of arrogance, lies, being a self interest, self righteous politician, presenting her own non existing experience, introducing race, religion and implying that the Presidency is an entitlement, is far from fit to hold the office.