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Blog Entries tagged 'election'

The Power of Power

To continue our discussion of different kinds of power, I am thrilled Obama has brought Samantha Power, who was forced to resign from Team Obama during the campaign for calling Hillary Clinton "a monster," back on board as part of the transition team--for the office of the Secretary of State. 

If you don't know about Samantha Power, here is an excerpt from Esquire:

Power, a journalist and now a professor at Harvard, who won a Pulitzer prize for her 2003 book on America's response to genocide, A Problem from Hell, and who helped kick-start the Save Darfur movement, has a vision that will help shape 21st-century American foreign policy. What Norman Podhoretz is to the neocon movement Power is to this as-yet-unnamed force. (Neo-internationalism? Moral interventionism? Machiavellian idealism?) She espouses talks--firm talks--with rogue states, a respect for international law, and a moral and pragmatic duty to intervene--with troops if necessary--in cases of genocide.

I'm happy she's back for a number of reasons: she's passionate about human dignity and has a complex and pragmatic view of how to secure it. In other words, she's tough and smart. Heart and head. Has a plan. A view. And her Pulitzer Prize winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, is endlessly relevant, and gives her unique insight into seemingly intractable hostilities, like the one between Israel and Palestine.

Though she's been lambasted by Zionist groups who say she wants to do everything from fund islamic terrorists to invade Israel, apparently her official position is the US should engage in an immediate and intensified involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In her view, the situation "has to be resolved first of all for the benefit of the parties involved, but also to prevent "cynical Arab leaders" from exploiting the conflict as a tool for justifying their policies."

I'm no expert, but this sounds like a rational approach to me. 

But mostly I feel good about Power's return because Obama's ability to bring her back in a leadership role in HRC's realm says he feels free as POTUS to make controversial decisions and continue to mix up ideological perspectives in the hopes of reaching different conclusions. He's apparently using the power vested in him to follow his agenda of change, rather than kowtow to personal gripes, party lines, or general consensus.

Power should be an excellent and necessary counterpoint to Hillary. Obama appears to believe the two women, though different in approach, are stronger together than apart.

What do you think?

December 1st, 2008

Malia and Sasha: Public or Private

Today's Root post:

I'm a little late to this conversation, but I feel compelled to weigh in on the question of whether the Obama children should go to public or private school. I truly, deeply, completely understand why some feel sending Malia and Sasha to a private school will indicate an "abandonment" of the public school system, but still and all I think this is an inappropriate, bordering on reckless, discussion.

First of all--the question reminds me of Obama's behind the scenes remark in Newsweek:

"So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f–––ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

I don't think sending the girls to public school is going to solve the unbelievable decline of our schools. And I seriously doubt he will be less motivated to improve the public school system de facto because he and Michelle send their girls to a private school.

Then there is the quality of the DC public school system. They are working on it, and I have tremendous respect for the teachers and many excellent public schools, especially the charter schools, in DC, but the history is fraught with issues. I went to one of the best public schools on Capitol Hill when my father worked for the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Jimmy Carter, and let's just say it could have been better.

Which brings us to the question of giving your kids "less" on principle. It reminds me of parents who believe you shouldn't leave money to your children because they won't work hard or appreciate the benefits of self-reliance, which is fine. But what if that somehow compromises the stability of your children or grandchildren?

Aren't principles, if they undermine long-term viability and health, dysfunctional?

What troubles me about these conversations is the assumption Malia and Sasha are just like everyone else. They may be in some ways, but they are not in one very big way: they are the children of the President of the United States. There are massive security issues to be managed. Those kids need to be in the most controlled environment possible. That means contained campuses, administrative familiarity with similar situations, and all manner of other considerations.

Safety first. Principles second. Or, what about safety being the overriding principle? 

What do you think?

 

November 13th, 2008

Obama's One Thousand Pieces, The Guardian UK

November 7th, 2008

By Rebecca Walker

I can finally stop for a second. And breathe. The election wasn’t stolen.Our candidate is alive. We showed up, changed the world, and plan to get up tomorrow and do it again. We know this because Obama won and there is a whole lot of world left to change. We also know this because President-elect Obama has already sent his supporters an email requesting our suggestions on public policy. True to form, he expects our input to begin right now.

November 7th, 2008

Election 2008: Are You Okay?

I don't know about you all, but I've come down with the election-flu.

I've identified the germinology:

1. 24 hour election coverage. I've got news about the Mccain-Obama situation coming at me from Twitter, Friend Feed, CNN, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, and Fox News (thanks to my multi-news channel that lets me watch all the major stations at the same time), the local Hawaii ten-page newspaper, Alternet updates on my Blackberry, a constant stream of posts on my Facebook page, huge Hawaii for Obama posters at the supermarket, and even Tenzin. Right this second, he is in the bathtub singing, "Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama."

2. The growing hostility. I was just speaking in the bible belt, the midwest, the west coast, and the northeast. Among many moments of difficulty, an airline attendant looked me up and down when I asked for a cup of water, then told me there wasn't enough to give me. At a hotel in Tennessee, a family of five asked me huffily to show them to their room.

When I asked why there was a "No Firearms Allowed" sign on the front door of a hotel in another Southern state, a policeman stood up from his post in the lobby, put his hand on his gun, and asked the woman behind the desk if she was having a problem with me.

And then, last night when I got home, I heard what I can only describe as Commando-style yelling coming from across the yard. I heard "Go!" and "Aim!" and "Move out!" Was it a television? A white supremacist group doing an exercise for the day after the election? I wish I could say definitively that it was the former, but since I've been hearing a lot of bagpipe playing over yonder, and checking in with the SPLC on the staggering rise of white hate groups, I'm not so sure.

The truth is, the backlash on this necessary step forward is going to be monumental. I recently saw a documentary on the civil war. One historian said the North won the war, but the South won Reconstruction-- black folks were emancipated, but they were also severely brutalized and disempowered shortly thereafter. I'm not saying it's going to happen, I'm saying Obama supporters of all colors need to get ready. Now is the time for all of us to vote, and also prepare. 

Today, my friends, I am going to take some time off to rest and recover. I'm going to lie in bed with a book after I post this and try not to think about the economy. I am going to send messages of reassurance to all of the people in the world terrified of change that we will make it through if we can be open to what is rather than attached to what was, and I am going to check all of the locks on my doors and windows to make sure they are secure. 

I'm also going to try, try, try, to give Tenzin my undivided attention for at least thirty minutes. And that includes being with him without thinking about the ten thousand things on my to-do list and what the world might look like at the end of next month.

And one more thing. The Dalai Lama says a guaranteed way to feel better is to think about others more than yourself. So I'm going to ask how you're doing with all of this. How are you managing these final days to E-day?

Are you okay?

October 30th, 2008

The Best Woman for the Job May Be a Man

 
By Rebecca Walker
Special to CNN

Rebecca Walker is the founder of the Third Wave Foundation, and the author of four books, including her latest, "Baby Love." Read her blog on theroot.com.

Rebecca Walker is urging women to turn the page on gender-based feminism.

June 6th, 2008