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US Politics

Taking the Obama Road

“Telling Thoughts” was to become my cyberspace carrier pidgeon to deliver my messages and thoughts.

My Barack Journey Begins

Not long after Australia’s Federal Election delivered a new Labor government in November last year, a friend and neighbour of mine, Mark Brennand, an IT software expert of immense ability, offered to reconfigure my website to enable me to write and use it as a personal blog.

No longer needed for its original purpose, Mark suggested I should consider using it to record my thoughts on issues which might be of interest to others. Deciding to give it a go, I chose”Telling Thoughts” as the new domain name in the hope I could make some “telling” points in casually written articles. The idea being to write about anything, or putting it another way, nothing in particular. You can’t get more casual than that. All subjects would be open for discussion. For example the sort of things we experience in everyday life and how we cope. The pleasant moments, the unexpected, and the type of stories we like to share, in the hope that we are not the only ones on the planet with such bad luck.

Murphy’s Law etc.

As we have come to learn, things don’t always work out as originally planned. That’s when old sayings are dragged out to give reason. The sardonic smartypants jokes like,”It’s Murphy’s Law”or”The best laid plans go astray”.This was one of those times. Instead of being able to write at a leisurely pace, I was about to enter a high pressure literary and political reporting race requiring a lot of homework, and a highly disciplined workload. With the new website ready it was time to set out on my blogging adventure, or heaven forbid, a possible literary trainwreck.Whatever.Time and effort would tell.

Mark said; “OK John, “Telling Thoughts” is set to go, have you decided what you would like to write about first?”.

The Obama Choice

After what is commonly referred to as a pregnant pause, ( and for those who don’t know, that doesn’t mean the answer takes nine months to deliver) I said I would start by commenting on the US Presidential election race beginning with the 2008 Primaries. With a quizzical look, he asked me why I had chosen that path. My reply seemed to satisfy his interest. It was the same answer I later gave, when asked the same question by American supporters keen to understand why a foreigner was so involved and  interested. I replied; “What happens in America touches every corner of the world – What happens in the Oval Office can change the world”. It was well received.

And now”Telling Thoughts” was to become my cyberspace carrier pidgeon to deliver my messages and thoughts, when writing in support of Senator Barack Obama’s candicacy for the Presidency.

Little did I realise what that would entail. The bliss of ignorance!

It Started with Iowa 

Mark had said he hadn’t heard of Senator Obama.I told him that I had not either until I saw a television replay of his highly acclaimed address to the Democratic Party’s National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts in 2004. As a new face on the national horizon this was a Democrat with real potential. Interest was further heightened when he was elected to the US Senate that same year. When Senator Obama announced his candicacy for the Office of President of the United States of America at Springfield, Illinois on February 10th 2007, I made a point of following his progress leading into the first Primary in Iowa on January 3rd 2008.

Getting Organised / Contacts

From then on things began to really hot up and by then I was well and truly committed to his campaign success. With Telling Thoughts now rolling I knew I had to learn how to operate within the official Obama website. It would be a great source of on the ground, as it happened information, available in the same time frame that it would be for American journalists. My first step was to create an official Obama site blog. I called it “John Hay an Australian for Barack” It provided a marvellous supporter’s platform to make contact with other Obama supporters, to make Obama friends and to share information and views through the friends network. In addition supporters can elect to join various Obama district or interest groups and use these outlets to share information. In my case, being a lone writer, it has been very helpful in promoting the website stories and media link services available in “Telling Thoughts”.

I found the official Obama website to be bright and inclusive. Joining as a supporter makes you feel part of the campaign, regardless of whether you are from Europe, Asia, Brazil, The Bahamas, Canada or Australia. Nationality does not matter. People from overseas are made to feel welcome. That impressed me when I first joined. It is a great campaign facility by which to share  information, thoughts, stories and to give help and  encouragement when needed. Over time you get to recognise the regular Obama site users by name, some of their aliases are extremely creative and some very funny. You get to feel as though you know them. It is a real sense of community.

Racism

Not long after Super Tuesday on February 5th, I was visiting the Obama site where I  read a post which concerned me deeply. It was written by an African American lady who expressed her fear that the issue of racism and it’s dangerous implications would continue to be used to deny Senator Obama a fair opportunity to achieve his political destiny should his Primary fortunes improve. And they did.

Coming from Australia, I was shocked and angry at first. To me the colour of one’s skin is and should be irrelevant. I’m never asked how it feels to be white. However in the ensuing Obama vs Clinton primaries and now in the general election against John McCain the wider world is again reminded that racism in the United States still exists. Fanned by sections of a racially biased media and racist white politicians, this age old disease of difference is still used to promote prejudice on the well trodden path of the politics of fear. Fortunately these disturbed people inhabit a world that is fast disappearing. Good riddance to that.

It seems that many suffering that awful affliction, have had their lives ruined by peer pressure and parental brainwashing on this subject. Pressure to conform, to fit in, to be a part of a community is often too difficult for some to withstand. Challenging and trying to change bigoted attitudes, serves only to harden and intensify feelings. While more public education would help, the best thing that could happen in the US would be to have a coloured person elected as President for two terms, and be successful. That I believe would be of immense value in creating a new attitude for a new generation. On November 4th 2008, America will have its first and best chance to begin.

At the same time, just as it would be wrong to vote for someone simply because they would be the first woman president, it would be equally wrong to support the election of a black man for the same reason. People need to select the candidate, who in their opinion, is the best qualified and who offers policies more likely to improve their lives and conditions in their country. That is important, not colour, creed, religion, ancestry or race.

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Discussion

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  1. John,

    This is a great article with all of the summaries and insights. By the way, I have always loved the title: “Telling Thoughts”!

    I, along with so many others, are very pleased you started this website. It’s a comforting and intelligent place to land, with all of the crazy things happening in our politics and our world.

    Please keep up the great work and continue bringing us your unique and fresh perspectives on all that is going on around us. It’s wonderful to have support from all corners of the world and yours is undoubtedly unmatched.

    Posted by Ritz | August 21, 2008, 3:22 pm