Friday, January 4, 2008

Reaction to the Iowa Caucus

I was going to blog last night, but I was just too stunned to say anything. I watched the 53rd Precinct Caucus on C-SPAN and my instinctive reaction to the whole thing was revulsion. I've been uncomfortable with Iowa being the first caucus state for while. I've never seen so many white people in one room in my whole life. It made me feel like a third class citizen. Why is it that an all white state (Iowa is 95% white) practically chooses the next President of the United States? (Why not Illinois as the first primary state which has rural, urban, and sub-urban areas and is more representative of the country as a whole?) I looked and looked and no Asians, Latinos, or any persons with even a spec of color was in the room. I watched and waited as these people, who couldn't possibly know anything about me or people who look like me, whittle down the field of candidates for the rest of the country.

As the viability was being tallied and the groupings were becoming clear, a shocking image was coming into focus: Obama - 186 votes (3 delegates), Edwards - 116 votes (2 delegates), and Clinton - 74 votes (1 delegate). I was stunned. An all white, and I mean really white, room of people choose a Black man! As I live and breathe, I was stunned. By the end of the night Obama was the clear winner of the Iowa Caucus with 38% of the vote. Edwards and Hillary virtually tie at 30% and 29%, respectively.

What does this mean? Is this the "politics of Hope" or the "politics of shame"? Are American whites at the place where they want don't want to feel the shame of being American anymore? We can only imagine what people around the world think of us. I know that I have felt a deep sense of shame to be living in a country that tortures people, kidnaps people and sends them to foreign lands to be tortured, executes people (sometimes innocent people), wages unprovoked wars, drops white phosphorus on people, puts corrupt people in positions of power, has suspect elections, protects corporations that basically enslave people (sometimes children) to make our manufactured goods, the list goes on and on. And the racism before, during, and after hurricane Katrina was glaringly clear. So has America had enough?

I've been here before. I've built my hopes up that America is moving in the right (for lack of a better term) directions and had had those hopes smash to the ground breaking my heart and leaving me disgusted. I've been around for a long time and I know that people don't change overnight. There are people in the country that will never accept a Black man as the leader of this country. And I mean never! (So please be careful Obama!)

I still think that policy-wise John Edwards is the best candidate. He is also the most clear in articulating the issues and his positions on them. But dammit, I must admit a little pride for both the people of Iowa and Obama. It was inspiring to watch Obama give his victory speech. I could watch it again and again.

Just when you think you got folks figured out ...


jenn said...

There are some pretty jarring and "on the money" responses to the Obama win by black folks in this post on "Group News blog" called pride and palpitations

jenn said...

Also this post, If you kill Obama, we WILL blow shit up, whose graphics are really someting

jenn said...

Here is Obama's victory speech. Pretty inspiring stuff.

James Stripes said...

There are people in the country that will never accept a Black man as the leader of this country. And I mean never!

There are a lot of white folks in Iowa (and other places that are all white) that do not believe they are racists, but they will find reasons not to vote for Obama, and they will lie to themselves about why.

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