Nick's Journal
Ad 2:
2008-03-19 22:20:26 (UTC)

Things that I just can't put my finger on

i'd make the worst political pundit. i can't seem to commit
to any one diatribe. i seem to be easily persuaded by
arguments, always tending to see the other side's point of
view. i can't seem to just spout out an opinion. if i were
on one of those shows and they asked me to comment on the
2nd amendment. i'd excuse myself, come back in 10 weeks
with 3 binders worth of research, give a 20 minute speech
and finally come to the conlcusion that, while i felt this
way, there are some well thought out opposing arguments.
cos that's how the world really is. nothing every really
fits into a neat box. there's no black and white. the
cliches say everything.

so it is really disconcerting to me when i feel a certain
way but can't seem to put my finger on why i feel so. for
example, i admit that probably my most tenuous stance on an
issue is the death penalty.
i am for the death penalty.
i can give you a million statistics to refute the opposition
and support my theory, but those statistics seem to change
every day.
i can spin some sort of rigmarole about the fabric of
society, but what it all really just boils down to for me is
simply that it "feels right."
it feels as though justice is done when someone, who
heinously murders another individual in cold-blood must
suffer the same fate.
that's really what lies beneath my death penalty stance.
the rest is merely a facade. if i really wanted to
"transcend" logical reasoning and just decided to yell at
someone on a talk show for about an hour it would finally
come down to me saying osmething like, "yeah, well that's
just how i feel about it."
suicide for someone who is supposed to think reasonably.

but that's the thing, a lot of what i feel, i do just
that...feel. it's just too damn exhausting to have every
conceivable retort researched in order to rebut. it's just
too damn mind-numbing combing through statistics and
experiments. at some point you just have your underlying
feelings and whether or not you take public positions on
thsoe feelings determines whether you're a politician or
not. that's nto to say that politicians simply stand for
whatever they "feel" is right. i'm sure that most policies
are exhaustively researched (not the least because it'd be
political suicide not to do so).
so it was with barack obama's speech yesterday. being on
spring break, and having absolutely nothing to do, i've been
glued to the television in between writing my appellate
brief (law school breaks your spirit even during vacation).
before the rainstorm of political pundits and banal bloggers
saturated the airwaves and fiberoptics with their opinions i
just had this gut feeling that i was really dissapointed in him.

i've been on the fence about obama for a while; mostly
because i just always felt that he was someone who had some
sort of baggage. and yesterday i realized what it was. the
racial divide.
in my opinion the best way for him to have handled the
blasphemous reverend wright was to have just thrown him upon
the stack of stooges who does nothing more than flame the
incendiary flames of racial hatred.
but rather than utterly obliterating rev. wright's blatantly
anti-semitic remarks and destroying him and leaving his
bloodied body behind him for his damning of america obama
took the middle road.
and in all of this i saw the beauty of his lawlerly ways.
he condemned but condoned. denounced but justified. and in
the end he turned the conversation in the artistic way that
lawyers do, into a debate upon the racial divide.
chiding the public for paying attention to such a silly man
such as rev. wright; where they should rather be listening
to hsi words of wisdom on how the world is.
and so the racial divide finally provided the perfect crutch
for mr. obama. through the forced perspective of inequity i
did feel stupid for condemning rev. wright...what did i know
about how the black community views america?

but then, as i watched it again later that evening, and
talked about it with juliann some, i felt cheated. as if my
first feeling of the speech was true.
but i feel stupid for my beliefs. i could never shake the
thought that obama just "kind of liked" america. you know?
like if america were a girlfriend of his he'd take her out
to sizzler but not the fancy french restaurant. that if she
were bi-polar he'd love the manic phases but leave the phone
off the hook during the depressive.
and i know, i know. such comments such as ms. obama's "i'm
finally proud of america" are buying into foxnews' hysteria
but i just can't seem to shake that feeling.
like america is obama's pet project and through his speech
yesterday he let us into the key ingredients he wishes to
experiment with.

and the thing is, after having watched his speech for the
fourth time today i once again felt badly. i still had this
feeling that i was immensely disappointed in his sell-out to
the quibbles of black and white america. OF COURSE
everybody loves to blame anyone else. whites love to blame
immigrants, blacks whites, and the arabs just about
everybody. but the thing is, why play into that?
and why elevate it to this pseudo-intellectual status of,
"well you can't deny the history of racial prejudice."
i always thought that was such a self-fulfilling prophecy.
if someone is constantly reminded of how bad things were and
how hard things MUST be now, then the bar is artificially
heightened. non-existent forces all of a sudden add to
one's inertia and any miscalculation, missstep, and
misguided attempt is at once cast in the light of, "well, i
was never in the right position to begin with."

the history is marred because we did always focus on race.
the hope is really that the present and future won't suffer
from that problem again.

so while i just can't place my finger on exactly what it was
that bothered me about obama's speech i think that those two
sentences are the closest.
i realize the arguments against mine that i am "stupid" and
"closed-minded" to not take into account the past racial
discrimination. but to borrow one of obama's favorite
phrases, "i reject the presumption that," we have to
constantly drudge up the past to better the future.

by the end of my fourth viewing i was trying my hardest to
see the speech in the light that juli did. seeing it as an
attempt for reconciliation. a brave forray into a horrible
divisive subject. and i appreciated it for that. but at
this time i just think that voters care more about the
economy and the war than the racial divide.
we'll see if it turns into a loss of votes.

and in conclusion i just in a way want obama to win. i have
this unshakeable feeling that he is an unattractive
candidate to me because he seems to carry the racial divide
baggage, he doesn't seem to love america, and he's just too
damn apologetic all the time (especially with regard to
foreign policies).
but maybe that's what we need. someone who will broach the
hard topics noone wants, one who won't let nationalistic
pride subject us to further wars, and one who engages
countries with a degree of humility.

i'm still clasping on to your side of the fence obama, and
surprisingly, i'm appreciating your shaking me on my wobbly