After Obama won the long, hard-fought Democratic Primary, I admit that my attention on the election waned. Was it complacency or just a weariness of politics? Perhaps a bit of both. But either way it was not good. It is the kind of attitude that can help lose this election for Obama. I’m not being arrogant. I get it. I’m just one fucking vote, and really there is no way to know that my one vote will even be counted. But that is not the point. The point is that for any given individual to make any kind of difference they need to stay tuned in, keep up, spread the word in any way that they can. Perhaps few people will read this blog. But if just one person other than myself is reading then that’s one person that can be reached and influenced and there is the chance, slim thought it might be, that that influence can spread. And grow.
What knocked me out of my stupor? Someone standing before me an insisting that Barack Obama was a Muslim. I knew that there were people that held this view. But it is quite a different thing when that false accusation is thrown in your face. Of course, I responded by saying that, No, he was not. And in response this person argued that his father was Muslim. To which I countered, that does not make him Muslim.
The mistake I made after that was to walk away from the argument, without further pointing out that even if Barack Obama was a Muslim, full or half, it would not disqualify him from being President of the United States. One of the main reasons people came to this country was to escape religious intolerance. Freedom or religion is paramount to our American Democracy.
I should made this and other points. I should not have walked away. I allowed my emotions, my anger, to get the better of me, and since I did not want to “go off” I simply removed myself from the situation. Perhaps I was caught off guard because I’d grown to confident in my belief that Barack will win the election in November, even if I didn’t admit it to myself.
I evaluated the number of people that I know that might not vote for Barack Obama because they “believe” he is Muslim, which — I’m sorry — sounds too much like code for they don’t want to vote for him because he is black, and it occurred to me that there could be quite a few, perhaps even more than I thought.
So it’s time to get my head back in the campaign. I’m not planning to quit my job to work on the campaign or anything like that. I’ve never really been that kind of person. The most active I usually get is to put up a lawn sign and perhaps donate a few bucks here and there. And to keep abreast of news so that when opportunity to have a discussion or debate arises I am prepared to participate in a reasonable and rational way.
And that is what I am vowing to do. But who knows I maybe be inspired to do more. Few things motivate me more than being pissed off. And that is what happened when I was confronted with such a reactionary and ignorant attitude toward Barack Obama. So far from discouraging me, this person reignited my desire to help get Obama elected the next President of the United States.