Saturday, October 11, 2008
Why Wear an Obama Button Any Way?
On our way out to Park Day yesterday, I forgot to put on my Obama button. These days, I'm either always wearing that or one of the Obama t-shirts that I rationalized getting, even though strictly speaking that's not part of the compact. Still, I think it's OK because it's a political contribution and I think that's allowed according to our way of doing the Compact...
I said, "Darn it! I forgot my button!" as we drove down the street. Both kids wondered why I cared so much. So, I explained in the gentlest terms possible that I feel it's important for people to see a white mom from the suburbs showing her support for Barack Obama. I explained that the McCain campaign is trying to scare people into thinking Obama is "other" than them. They do this by highlighting his race, his name, his ability to speak well--a.k.a. elitism...you know, he can pronounce "nuclear" correctly. They don't speak about his policy positions and how they differ from McCain's plans. They don't do that at all.
With the level of inflammatory rhetoric being e-mailed about like crazy, I think people should SEE visible, proud, clear support of Barack Obama. It's not enough to just vote for him on election day, although that is great, I think people need to help stem the tide of the increasingly threatening mob that is growing for McCain/Palin. When their supporters start yelling "Terrorist!!!" in reference to Obama and yell racial epithets at a black member of a TV crew covering a Palin speech, it's time for people to take a stand against this kind of vociferous, ignorant hatred.
Political discourse can't resort to smears and demonizing the other guy--it's untrue, and dangerous. Besides which, how does that even remotely address the extreme needs of people in this country right now? People are losing their money. They're losing their homes. They're losing their jobs. They're unable to get loans for college, homes, cars... People are having a hard time paying medical bills. This isn't about being frivolous, this is about day to day living for the middle class. The poor are going to have an even tougher time of it.
Recently, a Chicago sheriff said that he will no longer evict tenants who have dutifully been paying their rent, but their landlords have not been paying on their properties. He said it is unjust, and he won't put people out on the street who haven't done anything wrong. Damn straight.
Beyond concern about our own individual needs are the actions that happen in our name and that affect everyone worldwide. We are at war in Iraq--an occupying force that is unwelcome. The polar ice caps are melting away. The water supply is being polluted here, and crazily, being privatized elsewhere. They are genetically modifying everything, frankenfoods are popping up all over the place.
So, I wear my Obama button and shirts as a message to like-minded people who may cross my path--"Yes we can!" We can affect change and turn the direction of this country to a more just future. And, I wear my Obama button and shirts as another message to the opposition that Obama is reasonable. Obama is not scary. Obama has a proud supporter here in Very-Republican-Town, Illinois. You can question the right-wing talking points being spewed by Hannity, et. al.
When we got back from the park, I found my button where I had left it and I will wear it again tomorrow. Unless I wear an Obama shirt. I'm lucky to have so many choices!