I haven’t been commenting on this year’s political race. For the most part, because I have been happy with the thought of either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama becoming our president.
The reason why I supported Mr. Obama (I voted for him in the primary) is that I feel he represents an urge on the part of Gen-Xers and Millennials to move past politics of division. That we’ve had enough of 60s “long haired hippies are bad/conservatives are bad/religious types are bad/whites are bad/blacks are bad/women are bad/men are bad” winning through division arguments.
The irony is that there is evidence that won’t be enough.
It is time for everyone to realize that whichever the candidate was going to be – Clinton or Obama – that overcoming fear and ignorance would be the biggest obstacles to be overcome.
Fact: People are hugely misinformed even with the vast amounts of media available to us all on the Web, on Radio, on Cable, and elsewhere.
Prediction: This race will be closer than people expect.
A John McCain win is very possible and instead of pointing to his worthiness as a candidate, most likely, it would be blamed on ignorance or racism, and while there might be some credence, I believe it is simpler than that….
We believe in untruths and have media choices that reinforce our predispositions and prejudices. Across every income, education and political group.
There are those among us, who think the act of getting informed is something that each needs to take up as a self-discipline – “if they don’t get it – they don’t get it”, instead of a social practice where each of us has a responsibility to the rest of us.
As Doc Searls once said:
Information, we observed, is derived from the verb inform, which is related to the verb form. To inform is not to “deliver information”, but rather to form the other party. If you tell me something I didn’t know before, I am changed by that. If I believe you, and value what you say, I have granted you authority. Meaning, I have given you the right to author what I know. Therefore, we are all authors of each other. This is a profoundly human condition in any case, but it is an especially important aspect of the open source value system. By forming each other, as we also form useful software, we are making the world. Not merely changing it.
That’s a powerful idea and ideal. It is one that we are not living up to. And one that will have reverberations in this campaign.
But for now, congratulations America. We’ve come a long way. The blood of so many led us to today. So onward with tomorrow.
Update: Upon further consideration – If you consider how the press has covered Hillary Clinton’s run – and our response to it – it’s pretty clear we still have a long, long way to go.
Deborah Leavy: Obama’s next challenge: The Misinformed
Will Bunch: People died so tonight could happen
Metafilter: A moment in history; Obama Wins Presidential Nomination.
Associated Press: Analysis: McCain, Obama polar opposites:
…At this point, Obama appears to have a tougher barrier to break through on race than McCain does on age.
An AP-Yahoo News study comparing November figures to April figures found that McCain has won over many people initially worried about age, while Obama has made little headway so far among people who are most uncomfortable about race.
Roughly 13 percent of those who said in November they would be very uncomfortable voting for a black candidate now say they would vote for Obama, while 51 percent of them would vote for McCain. And 31 percent of those who said they were very uncomfortable with the idea of voting for someone over age 70 would now vote for McCain, while 40 percent would vote for Obama.
And, for now at least, it’s unclear whether experience or change matters more to voters.
The same study found that people who favor a Washington outsider who will change the way things are done split about evenly between McCain and Obama, while those who favor someone with Washington experience slightly favor McCain.
However, those who are optimistic that things actually can be changed in Washington favor Obama over McCain by a large margin, 43 percent to 31 percent. Those who are pessimistic about whether Washington can change favor McCain over Obama by an even wider margin, 43 percent to 23 percent.
Each candidate has five months to make his case.