Sunday, August 15, 2004

A This Week Recap

I am constantly impressed by how diplomatic Barack Obama is. George Stephanopoulos tried to set him up, asking which was your reaction, "I can't be this lucky" or "I can't believe this is happening to me." Obama smiled and replied with
"I decided, that with his announcment, that our fate is in our own hands. And so, there are going to be some trying moments. Mr. Keyes is voluble and he's opinionated and so there's going to be a healthy discussion as a consequence of this. But what I am absolutely certain of is that if you compare his vision and my vision, that the voters are, I think, a lot more interested in the things that I have to say."
Keyes was basically in his usual preaching mode, trying to explain the difference between him and Hillary Clinton and dropping abortion into every other sentence. I got my hopes up when he said that his lease is month to month. Do you think there's any chance that he'll only go one month? Then, there's the race aspect. When asked if he was picked because he was black, Keyes raised his voice and replied "I don't know and it's not my business to explain." He said that because he's in the race, "race isn't on the table," but then went on to try to prove that he was more black than Obama. "My ancestors toiled in slavery in this country," (emphasis Keyes') which all, of course, led into the standard abortion tirade, beginning with Barack Obama "claims an African-American heritage yet stands against the very things that were the basis for the oppression of my ancestors" and ending with the word "slaughter." Perhaps the best straight line came from Stephanouplous who voice-overed "as always with Alan Keyes, there is a struggle between the the statesman and the showman" before Keyes began singing. Keyes has apparently moved from comparing himself to political figures, like Lincoln, to comparing religious characters, this time to David (of the Old Testament). Obama, in the rebuttal piece, I think brings up an excellent point when he says that Keyes position on abortion is not in the mainstream with even those who are also disturbed by abortion. I actually think that Alan Keyes' over-the-top rhetoric can harm the pro-life movement. There are a lot of kind pro-life people who actually care about women and girls with unexpected pregancies. By spouting vitrole in the direction of those who may be considering abortion, you fail to acknowledge the difficult decision that chosing to have or not have an abortion actually is. In response to Stephanouplous' repeating of Keyes' "I'm blacker than you are" statement, Obama responsed. "I don't know if he's is trying to say that he's more qualified on the hierarchy of victimhood ... but that's something we'd have to explore further." I really hope we don't have to explore this more. And of course, I appreciated the dialogue between Stephanouplous and Obama regarding religion in the Democratic party. After Stephanouplous repeated the statistics that the biggest divides are between church-goers and non-church-goers with regular church-goers voting Republican by 20%. Obama said "we [the Democratic Party] made a mistake when we bought into the idea that 'only secularism could express tolerance.'" On a personal level, Obama stated that "My faith is one that admits some doubt. ... God doesn't speak to me alone." Then, shifting back to role that he thinks that religion would play in a society, Obama stated that "the only way that I can live with people of difference views and faiths, is if we have a civil society that is in fact civil. Obama's soft-spoken manner in conversation was easily contrasted with Keyes', particularly where Obama was almost calling Keyes out. In my favorite line, Obama said that the difference between himself and Keyes is that "Keyes ... feels the certainty of a prophet. Someone who's got a direct line into what God thinks. ... I have to struggle a little bit more and admit that certain human fallibility and not assert my unyielding confidence that I always know the truth."