Monday, January 28, 2008

Toni Morrison endorses Obama

The greatest living American writer, period.
Toni Morrison, whose books were the subject of my master's thesis, has endorsed Barack Obama for president. Her reasoning, sent to Obama in a letter:

"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."

I find it interesting that she mentions his "rare authenticity," as that is one of the things I find strangely lacking in him. Before he had declared his candidacy, I started reading The Audacity of Hope and found it bland and rather inauthentic-sounding. I didn't make it past the second chapter.

I'll say again that I'm a little wary of another Clinton presidency; nothing against Bill, but I just find it difficult to imagine the possibility that we'd be governed by a Bush, a Clinton, another Bush, and another Clinton. It just doesn't seem wise to pass on the presidency like a heirloom. Perhaps Obama would make a very good president. I have no doubt that he's intelligent, and the fact that he's a constitutional scholar is impressive.

Still, I support Edwards; I like him, and I like his positions. Obama worries me. I fear he's a very persuasive speaker but will have no true substance, only style. He reminds me of the old Robert Redford movie, The Candidate. Once elected, after fighting bitterly for office, the Redford character sits with his advisors and says, "Now what?"


FranIAm said...

What a great post! I agree completely.

Too tired to say much more... spent the day painting. Ugh.

Trivia note... Toni has a house near where my Nyack house is. One day I drove by and saw her out front.

Dumb ass trivia note at that!

Mauigirl said...

Excellent post...I agree about Clinton - too many years of the same people.

As for Edwards, unfortunately the media have already written him off and as a result he's just not doing well. It's really ridiculous that even with the states' primaries moved up so early that there still really isn't a choice by the time we get to vote. My state is voting Feb. 5and it's really down to Obama and Clinton already. Seems as if this whole primary system is broken.

Matty Boy said...

I agree with the Bush-Clinton axis. It feels like India, where the PM had to have the last name Gandhi for way too many years. (Even though they were related to Nehru.)

Randal Graves said...

Um, the greatest living American writer is Jonah Goldberg. Duh.

I love this post.

I love the picture of the Black Widow even more!

Karen Zipdrive said...

Toni Morrison endorsed Obama. Gee, what a shock.
If I may politely reply to those who compare the Bushes with the Clintons in terms of politcial dynasties...
To imply that the Bushes are comparable to the Clintons, thereby inviting the dynasty comparison, is ridiculous.
The Clintons have actually advocated for the people they've serve, and Bill brought economic security and worldwide diplomacy back to America.
Hillary is well respected in the Senate by both parties. She was a hard-working, humble student as a Freshman Senator and she made valuable alliances from the start.
The Bushes gained power through generations of wealth and influence peddling.
George W. got to be a governor, then president because the GOP needed an empty suit they could manipulate without the hassle of Bush having intellectual curiosity or the will to advocate for the common person.
To lump the Bushes and the Clintons together in any manner makes no sense.
It's just a weak argument, IMO.

no_slappz said...

Obama hasn't got a chance. Believe what you want, but the US will not nominate a black candidate for the presidency.

The Dems are now cornered. The party must choose between a woman and a black. Obviously, the nomination will go to Hillary. She has far more vote-getting power than Obama.

The Dems have reduced choices among candidates to those with the clearest idendities. Always a bad situation.

However, because identities are now the chief issue defining them, Obama will soon suffer for being black and for his obvious association with islam.

He has a muslim name. There is no chance US voters will elect a candidate with the same name as the former Iraqi dictator.

dguzman said...

Fran, OH MY GOD! I would be so friggin' tempted to stop and gawk. I luvs her.

Maui--yeah, it just doesn't seem right. And the media's pre-crowning of the two "favorites" is odious.

MattyBoy--so true. Dynasties are for ancient China and bad TV, period.

Randal--glad you like!

Karen, I don't mean a literal lumping-together of the Bushes and Clintons on policy or in any other way than name. Like Matty Boy said, it would be like India having only Gandhis. I do like Hillary, and I have no doubt she would do a very capable job. But it's weird to think of having Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton in our history books. Of course, I would've settled for Bush-Clinton-Gore-Clinton!

Slappy, don't underestimate this country. I have to hope that Americans can rise to the challenge of our times--both in policy and in social justice and equity--despite my doubts. But I do worry that Obama would be assassinated.

GETkristiLOVE said...

It's infuriating. Edwards was the best chance at defeating the Republicans and now I'm worried that we'll have eight more years of crap to pick out of our shoes.

Morrison's endorsement is very well written, but she is a writer. I guess it's better to be Obama'd than to have the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton that you speak of. (I never realized that until now!)

dguzman said...

GKL, I'm hoping that Clinton or Obama can beat McCain or Mittens or whoever the repugs throw out there. And I'm hoping if it's Hillary that she is only posturing for the centrist voters; that once she gets in office, she starts kicking some repug ass and cleaning up the shithole that Bush has dug us into.

no_slappz said...

dguzman, you wrote:

"Slappy, don't underestimate this country."

I'm not. That's why I know Obama hasn't got a chance. There's no voter base for a black presidential candidate outside of the black population.

You wrote:

"I have to hope that Americans can rise to the challenge of our times--both in policy and in social justice and equity--despite my doubts."

Rise to what challenge? It is absolutely silly to vote for a candidate because the candidate is black or female. That's what's known as identity politics. But it can't work unless enough people identify with the candidate on the only point offered. Race or gender.

Gender will trump race in a contest between a white woman and a black man. But on the national scene, the white woman will lose to a white man.

Meanwhile, Hillary as a VP problem. Who can run with her? The dope who joins her on the ticket is going to suffer in every imaginable way and in some ways that have not yet been imagined.

Moreover, she can't choose a female running mate. That's certain death for her campaign.

You opined:

"But I do worry that Obama would be assassinated."

You're living in the past. First, no black political leaders have been assassinated. Southern assassins killed black civil rights leaders. But never politicians.

What's the point? In the US assassination has very little impact on politics because there is always a ready replacement for the deceased.

On the other hand, civil rights leaders are charismatic people who lead by the strength of their personalities. Thus, assassinating a truly persuasive individual does serious damage.

Meanwhile, since neither Jesse Jackson nor Al Sharpton have been assassinated, you can rest easy that no one is too interested in knocking off Obama in any way but at the ballot box.

By the way, there are black senators, black representatives, black secretaries of state, black supreme court justices, and many many more blacks serving in prominent government positions. There are even more blacks serving in state, city and local governments.

If assassination were a real issue, every elected official would be white.