America is at a historic moment. America has a female candidate for president. America is at another historic moment. America has a black candidate. The candidates for the democratic party also offer two different forms of leadership: a fresh inspiring visionary and an experienced policy wonk.
I find myself a little surprised when I say black candidate. It struck me that people have been saying that Obama could be the first black president. I haven’t been hearing anyone say that he could be the first African-American president. It could be just the way I’m hearing the news. However, I did a quick Google search to see how many results I would get:
obama african-american 403,000
obama black 3,410,000
Isn’t it interesting that there are nearly ten times as many hits for “obama black” than “obama african-american”? It’s even more interesting considering that Obama’s father was born in Africa. I’m not sure what these results say. Am I mistaken or is it really that people have cast off the more politically correct term “African-American” in favor of the term black? Black, for whatever baggage it may carry, seems to be a richer term. Black power. Black panthers. African-American power just doesn’t have the same ring.
Obama inspires people. After watching the “Yes, we can speech”, I felt moved. Typically, I fall in the category of critical skeptic rather than wide-eyed idealist. I recognize Obama is a politician and that politicians often wield power for their own benefit and make ugly compromises. Still, he has an incredible ability to cast an image that he may actually represent significant change in America.
Let’s not let Hillary’s moment in the sun shrivel. Not that she’s a shriveller. If there is such a word. I remember Geraldine Ferraro being criticized during the 1984 election campaign for crying. Unforunately, I wasn’t able to find news articles about it on the internet. Bill Clinton, the great weeper, changed all of that with his public weeping. Oh how times have changed when men weep freely and women have to work at it. Hillary has been cast as cold and calculating by some because of her public persona. By allowing a tear to trickle, she pulled off warming up her public persona quite a bit. Some say it was just more calculating. I think she really was moved to tear after having her butt kicked by Obama in Iowa.
Clinton expresses her campaign not through visionary oration, but through a confidence that she can handle the nitty-gritty details. I imagine that she has been preparing for this role for at least the last ten years if not longer. I feel confident that she knows the ins and outs of domestic policy, military spending and international relations.
Not to be forgotten, we must also note a third historic moment. John McCain is the oldest white male candidate to ever run. Old white man. Isn’t John McCain’s face already on the nickel or something? I think he must have chiseled his college papers in stone like Fred Flintstone. You’ve had your moment man, time to move on. You’ve already got the nickel. What more do you want?
Why not combine the two historic moments as well as these two forms of leadership and vote Oprah for president in 2008? She’s sensible, smart and successful. Her communication skills outweigh those of the previous five presidents put together. She could put cool people on her cabinet like the blue man. She knows how to get people to talk to each other. She could sit down with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders on her show and get them to talk it out in front a global crowd. They would have to answer tough questions in front of an audience. Put the pressure on Oprah, put the pressure on!
Americans are notoriously uninterested in politics. People already watch Oprah on television. They read her magazine. If Oprah builds it, they will come. According to wikipedia, Oprah’s net worth is $2.5 billion. You don’t make that much money by being stupid. She is a visionary who has a handle on the nitty-gritty details. She sells advertising and invests wisely. She has her mind on her money and her money on her mind. She wouldn’t even need a salary. Oprah! Oprah! Oprah!
Man that would be great.
But Oprah isn’t running for president. Wish she would. However, there is another way to combine these two historic moments. There could be a Clinton-Obama ticket or an Obama-Clinton ticket. Either of those combinations would be an incredible team of bright, thoughtful and dynamic minds. All John McCain would be able to say is “look, look, my face is on the nickel!” But unfortunately, these two candidates may be as likely to run on the same ticket as Oprah is to run for president.