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Change we can believe in.

I really just felt the need to repost this, a letter from Toni Morrison, endorsing Barack Obama for President.

Dear Senator Obama,
This letter represents a first for me--a public endorsement of a Presidential candidate. I feel driven to let you know why I am writing it. One reason is it may help gather other supporters; another is that this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril. I will not rehearse the multiple crises facing us, but of one thing I am certain: this opportunity for a national evolution (even revolution) will not come again soon, and I am convinced you are the person to capture it.

May I describe to you my thoughts?

I have admired Senator Clinton for years. Her knowledge always seemed to me exhaustive; her negotiation of politics expert. However I am more compelled by the quality of mind (as far as I can measure it) of a candidate. I cared little for her gender as a source of my admiration, and the little I did care was based on the fact that no liberal woman has ever ruled in America. Only conservative or "new-centrist" ones are allowed into that realm. Nor do I care very much for your race[s]. I would not support you if that was all you had to offer or because it might make me "proud."

In thinking carefully about the strengths of the candidates, I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don't see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace--that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.

When, I wondered, was the last time this country was guided by such a leader? Someone whose moral center was un-embargoed? Someone with courage instead of mere ambition? Someone who truly thinks of his country's citizens as "we," not "they"? Someone who understands what it will take to help America realize the virtues it fancies about itself, what it desperately needs to become in the world?

Our future is ripe, outrageously rich in its possibilities. Yet unleashing the glory of that future will require a difficult labor, and some may be so frightened of its birth they will refuse to abandon their nostalgia for the womb.

There have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time.

Good luck to you and to us.

Toni Morrison


Maybe if I find time this weekend I'll see if I can sign up for some campaign canvasing. Later, skaterz.

Comments

( 14 beeps — speeeeeaaaakkkkk )
athena2483
Jan. 29th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
I like Barack. I find him to be very charismatic and I like his views on net neutrality and the like. But I am hoping that maybe you can clear something up for me: exactly why is he a such a great candidate? Vague praise concerning his "wisdom" sounds great, but exactly what has he done or said that exhibits this quality? I ask for informational purposes, not to imply that I disagree with his supporters (I do not have enough information to agree or disagree). I see (and occasionally contribute to) a lot of Hillary-bashing, but all I seem to hear about Barack is "he is wonderful and visionary and a great leader," but I do not know what the evidence is supporting these claims. I'm sure there's plenty, but could you please reply with some of the more significant points if you get a chance? Thanks!
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
On Iraq
Barack Obama opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. In 2002, as the conventional thinking in Washington lined up for war, Obama had the judgment and courage to speak out against the war. He said the war would lead to "an occupation of undetermined length, with undetermined costs and undetermined consequences." Obama has been a consistent, principled and vocal opponent of the war in Iraq. In 2003 and 2004, he spoke out against the war on the campaign trail; In 2005, he called for a phased withdrawal of our troops; In 2006, he called for a timetable to remove our troops, a political solution within Iraq, and aggressive diplomacy with all of Iraq’s neighbors; In January 2007, he introduced legislation in the Senate to remove all of our combat troops from Iraq by March 2008. In September 2007, he laid out a detailed plan for how he will end the war as president.
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
On Immigration
Obama championed a proposal to create a system so employers can verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S. Obama joined Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to introduce the Citizenship Promotion Act to ensure that immigration application fees are both reasonable and fair. Obama also introduced legislation that passed the Senate to improve the speed and accuracy of FBI background checks. Obama introduced amendments to put greater emphasis on keeping immigrant families together.
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
On the Environment
Obama has worked on numerous efforts in the Senate to increase access to and use of renewable fuels. Obama passed legislation with Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) to give gas stations a tax credit for installing E85 ethanol refueling pumps. The tax credit covers 30 percent of the costs of switching one or more traditional petroleum pumps to E85, which is an 85 percent ethanol/15 percent gasoline blend. Obama also sponsored an amendment that became law providing $40 million for commercialization of a combined flexible fuel vehicle/hybrid car within five years. Obama introduced a bold new plan that brought Republicans and Democrats, CAFE supporters and long-time opponents together in support of legislation that will gradually increase fuel economy standards.
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
On Ethics
Obama and Senator Feingold (D-WI) took on both parties and proposed ethics legislation that was described as the "gold standard" for reform. It was because of their leadership that ending subsidized corporate jet travel, mandating disclosure of lobbyists' bundling of contributions, and enacting strong new restrictions of lobbyist-sponsored trips became part of the final ethics bill that was signed into law. Americans have the right to know how their tax dollars are spent, but that information has been hidden from public view for too long. That's why Barack Obama and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) passed a law to create a Google-like search engine to allow regular people to approximately track federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and loans online. In 1998, Obama joined forces with former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon (D-IL) to pass the toughest campaign finance law in Illinois history. The legislation banned the personal use of campaign money by Illinois legislators and banned most gifts from lobbyists. Before the law was passed, one organization ranked Illinois worst among 50 states for its campaign finance regulations.
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
On Education
Obama has been a leader on educational issues throughout his career. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama was a leader on early childhood education, helping create the state's Early Learning Council. In the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leader in working to make college more affordable. His very first bill sought to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, Obama helped pass legislation to achieve that goal in the recent improvements to the Higher Education Act. Obama has also introduced legislation to create Teacher Residency Programs and to increase federal support for summer learning opportunities.
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
On Healthcare
In 2003, Barack Obama sponsored and passed legislation that expanded health care coverage to 70,000 kids and 84,000 adults. In the U.S. Senate, Obama cosponsored the Healthy Kids Act of 2007 and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2007 to ensure that more American children have affordable health care coverage. Obama worked to pass a number of laws in Illinois and Washington to improve the health of women. His accomplishments include creating a task force on cervical cancer, providing greater access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, and helping improve prenatal and premature birth services.
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
On Poverty
Obama created the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families in 2000 and successfully sponsored a measure to make the credit permanent in 2003. The law offered about $105 million in tax relief over three years. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama championed multiple pieces of legislation to help low-income families find adequate affordable housing.
wolfsavard
Jan. 29th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
On Civil Rights
Obama has worked to promote civil rights and fairness in the criminal justice system throughout his career. As a community organizer, Obama helped 150,000 African Americans register to vote. As a civil rights lawyer, Obama litigated employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and voting rights cases. As a State Senator, Obama passed one of the country's first racial profiling law and helped reform a broken death penalty system. And in the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leading advocate for protecting the right to vote, helping to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and leading the opposition against discriminatory barriers to voting.
athena2483
Jan. 30th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Re: On Civil Rights
Thanks for all this - very helpful. Do you by any chance know if there is any indication he will be able to help turn the economy around?
wolfsavard
Jan. 30th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Re: On Civil Rights
athena2483
Jan. 30th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
Re: On Civil Rights
Great link. I like a lot of his ideas, but the one issue I have is how is he expecting to be able to pay for all of this? I see talk of tax cuts but increased spending in several areas and with our current deficit, I feel like we really need to know how he is planning on raising funds. I suppose it would be by decreasing the amount we spend on defense since he wants to pull out of Iraq and all, but I wish I could see some hard numbers in his plan instead of just promises.
wolfsavard
Jan. 30th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Re: On Civil Rights
There's probably something there about eliminating tax cuts to the rich, or adding a high income tax, too. Democrats like taxing rich people.
athena2483
Jan. 30th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Re: On Civil Rights
Boooooooooo

:)
( 14 beeps — speeeeeaaaakkkkk )
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