Having just read Caroline Kennedy's glowing endorsement for Barack Obama this morning, I thought it a good time to comment on what may be the single most important decision this country is being called on to make in a long time. Do we stick with the tried and true, or do we stick our necks out a bit, and try to reach some higher plane?
Washington is mired in a partisanship that has brought all good ideas to a complete standstill. The only point of agreement is that everything needs to be fixed. We are a deeply divided country; polarized on so many important issues.
I admired and appreciated President Clinton's leadership during his 8 years in office. And I resented having his ability to do the job we put him there to do being rendered ineffective during the last year or two by the right-wing's and the craven press' inability to keep their nose out of his crotch. The last seven-plus years have made Bill Clinton's accomplishments and abilities shine even more (that's not saying much, though, I realize).
I appreciate the fact that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have found uncommonly broad common ground in laying out many of the general and specific things that need to be done to repair some of the damage that's been and is being done by the Bush people, and agreement on much of what needs to be done to move from there forward, with greater aspirations for our country. I expect any of them would do a great job. But to make any difference at all, the new president will have to motivate a highly divided congress.
Right now, given all those things, I appreciate Barack Obama's ability to speak to our higher selves. He takes an approach that attempts to evoke the best in us.
I am angry about what's been done to this country, and appropriately so I think, because I love this this country and its people. But I really like the way that Obama redirects our energies toward the higher aspiration of putting our heads and hearts together in a positive way to make things better.
Unfortunately, as much as I respect the Clintons' and Edwards' good intentions and abilities, they dwell so much on the negative, and polarize people so much, I think they would not be able to accomplish as much for us as a people as Obama would.
In the Buddhist community, the people we purposefully associate ourselves with and with whom we attempt to learn together how to be better people, is called a "Sangha." Obama is the kind of individual who enriches our Sangha as a people, and I believe we would do well to give him a chance to lead us in a more positive direction.
However this comes out, it has been a huge benefit to our culture at large to have Obama imprint on us the idea, the image, the ability to imagine, a black man as President. And just so, Hillary Clinton's strength and long, hard effort has given us the ability to imagine a woman in that role as well. That doesn't mean anyone should or shouldn't vote for either of these folks based on their race or sex. But each of them, merely by their sincere and devoted efforts to come as far as they have come, have given us these gifts of imagining, and that has helped us to grow as a culture already.
I feel more optimistic than I have in a long time as a result.