Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wherein Everyone Looks Bad

In today's installment of the J Continuum, two quick bits from Slate's spin-off site, "The Root," a

daily online magazine that provides thought-provoking commentary on today's news from a variety of black perspectives. The site also hosts an interactive genealogical section to trace one's ancestry through, a DNA testing site co-founded by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who is also The Root's Editor-In-Chief.
<digression> I present here their first paragraph from their "About Us," because just saying it's Slate's "Black Issues" online magazine diminishes it, the effort, and the intention too much (i.e. it makes it sound like it's a specialist magazine, whereas it's actually general commentary, just oriented around race in America; it makes it sound like stories by or about black people are just FOR black people, and insinuates that "black issues" or race issues only concern black people, where in reality, race is a dynamic between multiple groups, and therefore "black issues" are actually "societal issues" that we all should be concerned with).</digression>

So anyways. Voter disenfranchisement, Republican dirty tricks, right here in my own backyard in Michigan: unimaginable, I know.</sarcasm> (It's worth noting that in the last link there, under the "know", Greg Palast points out that it's not a strictly party thing, he argues that in Cook County, Ill., -- County-of-J's-youth -- black disenfranchisement helps keep the Daley machine in office (which is rather totally believable).

The other bit for today, to cut the other way, are two articles critiquing Obama -- or really, the important one is the one in the Houston Press News (that I found via this article) about what the reporter sees as Obama's long-established careerism and political aspirations keeping him from doing as much as he could to help his own district in Chicago, as a community organizer and as a politician, and it's the first actually somewhat concrete proof of what I've heard several times: that he rose in no small part (as anyone in that climate would have to) through the Illinois' political machine's machinations. Interestingly, the reporter still finds him inspiring, even after being chewed out and fair-weather-unfriended by Obama. Of course, I guess I should be understanding -- I think Obama's going to be/is as much of a politician as anyone, and I still find him inspiring. I may even vote for him yet -- McCain is growing scarier by the day, and it would be nice to have someone in the White House that says the things I believe in, even if -- and this is my basic analysis of Democrats -- they continue to DO all the things I don't believe in. At least they can make it sound good. (And please note: McCain's increased scariness is pushing me more towards the "safe" option of Obama, but it's not as if I've even briefly considered voting *for* McCain in 2008; not to shock everyone, but I just hadn't previously planned on voting Democratic either. Guess I'm that all-important political independent... funny, for some reason the news doesn't usually characterize independents as being socialists...)

(Extra super special duper side note: I can back up the Houston reporter's reporting of Obama chewing him out, swearing at him, etc. -- an acquaintance of mine worked relatively high up in the Clinton campaign, and the acquaintance tells me that when she met Barack Obama, he said something to the effect of "Why the fuck are you working for her?" -- being that, I guess, she's black. This was without provocation, and wayyyyy before Hilary looked out of the race and was staying in by the skin of her teeth. I know this acquaintance pretty well and have no reason to disbelieve her. She, having been in DC a long time, said that in person, behind-the-scenes, he's not actually that nice of a guy. There's no reason to think he's any less nice than many other politicians, among whom there are undoubtedly many SOBs, I'm sure, but still...)

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