Rebecca Walker


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More Election 2008


Hey all, just stayed up writing a response to Gloria Steinem's NYTimes Oped piece, but I sent it to the Times so can't post here. What I can post is an interview I've just finished for the Italian daily paper Corriere della Sera about the election and Obamamania:

1. Did you already make your choice as far as the upcoming presidential election?

Like many in the US, I am undecided. Because the outcome of this election is so critical to the future of humanity, I am approaching the race with great caution and respect.

2. As a feminist and at the same time a Jewish and Black American do you find this a particularly difficult choice to make?

I can say that in an ideal world, I would be able to vote for both. It would be a great victory for America and the world if the winner takes the loser on as VP. That's the real winning ticket.

3. Which of the Democratic candidates best represent your many souls?

If I had to choose one whose message resonates the most, I would choose Obama. Like me, he's biracial, ivy-league educated, and believes deeply that he can bring his faith in humanity to the table and make profound, lasting change. But there's a reason I'm not a politician. The global political stage is a tough place for optimistic human beings of integrity. Hillary's got a lot more experience holding up under the pressure of right wing henchmen.

4. How do you explain Barack Obama's stellar ascent? Is he really a better candidate than Hillary? Why is America so in love with him?

Barack Obama is more in tune with where we are going than where we've come from. He transcends racial barriers, has a powerhouse wife, and says he wants all Americans to have a chance, no matter how rich or poor. It is unclear at the moment if he is a better candidate than Hillary, but we can definitely say his rhetoric is better. The audacity of hope. The time is now. One America. In a country of consumers, it's all about the advertising, and he's got that in the bag. Americans also love Obama because this is fundamentally a Judeo-Christian country; most Americans believe that either the messiah is coming, or the meek will inherit the earth. Obama represents both.

5. Is Obama really equally loved by both black and white Americans?

This is hard to say. I know some black Americans who aren't enthusiastic about him and some white Americans who are. It appears that race is not a handicap for him at this point.

6. Some African-Americans at the beginning attacked him as more white than black, citing his mother's race and the fact that he does not share the pain and suffering of their ancestors brought to the American shores in chains. What do you think about this argument? Do you have to share a common history of slavery to be called a true Afro-American?

I don't subscribe to the idea that you are not black if you haven't lived in a shack or shined white men's shoes your whole life. I do think it is important for all candidates to be able to speak with gravity and sincerity to those who have.

7. What do you like most about Obama? What do you like most about Hillary?

I like Obama's wife, Michelle. I like Hillary's husband, Bill.

8. If Hillary were to lose again tonight in New Hampshire what will happen to her campaign?

She won.

9. Which strategy would you advise her to follow to rescue her campaign?

Hillary needs to let the American people into her heart. She needs to let people know she feels their pain and has the medicine to make it go away. She needs to show that's she a mother, a wife, a friend, a multi-dimensional human being who has a calling to make America and the world a fundamentally better place for everyone. It's tough because in order for her to get where she is, she's had to play like a man. That moment is gone, however, and this political moment calls for her to act like a woman.

10.Do you know how your parents will be voting?

I'm fairly certain that both of my parents will be voting for Obama, but until the moment of truth it's a toss-up.



Anonymous t said...

I totally agree with your response on #9, in fact that is exactly what I thought after Hillary's tearful moment. It has been a "man's game" and so i think she's felt that she has to be unwaveringly tough, but showing her caring side will endear her to Americans, I think.


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