Saturday, September 27, 2008

Letters to Ba'rama #4: Notes on the Frst Debate

Fresh from my Neighborhood Debate Party, Senator Obama, and full of fresher admiration for your presence on the national scene, I’m once again struck by the focus and clarity you bring to your hopeful message of change. Looking comparatively at the evening’s presentations is meaningful.

First, while you defended and clarified your record as needed, you spent much more time being “present moment” than your opponent, who relies on his past and never quite “gets” the Now. In fact, he avoids it, falling backwards to attitudes of American-Empire-Thinking that better belong in memory than in the mind of a possible President in 2008. Since most of our domestic and foreign problems stem from this elitist and ethnocentric mindset, it’s refreshing to hear you calling for open and honest dialogue without pre-conditions and “American” agendas. “My way or the Highway” thinking cannot work in the Now, when all ways are united in human mutuality.

Second, Ba’rama, you clearly are the better listener, both to Jim Lehrer and to McCain; your responses speak of experience with dialogue, compromise as needed, and building agreement, whereas your opponent often seemed more focused on presenting a canned message that skirted the issue at hand. The fact that you agreed with McC and complimented him when possible shows your maturity in argumentation and interpersonal relations. You also looked at him when you spoke to him, whereas his eyes never left the camera.

Third, sir, you spoke more often from fact and specific evidence than from “pleasing” generalities and “Beltway Bubble Babble.” It marks you as a critical thinker who respects clarity, particularly in your repeated interjection, “Let’s be clear.” Since we as a nation have been in a fog of purposeful untruth for many years, your forceful call for clarity marks you as a voice of truth in a murky wasteland of distortion and spin. It’s refreshing. Perhaps the other side still thinks the American Public cannot think, but I beg to differ. We can, we are, and it’s changed everything. More and more often, the emerging “American Public” is not looking for someone to “lead” it but, rather, for someone to collaborate with it for mutual benefit and respectful progress.

Fourth, my friend, while both of you hedged a bit from answering Lehrer’s excellent question about how your Presidencies would be changed by the current economic crisis—not surprising, since it’s too unclear to make predictions—I was happy to hear you state for the record your tax plans, since the other side’s ads have been full of shameful lies and spin that needed refuting. I was particularly happy when you called out his distancing from the GOP economic line, something he’s been supporting since Reagan.

Finally, then, I feel you won the debate because you spoke, with honesty, clarity, courage and reasonable passion, directly to us, from the Now, as a statesman and a world leader, whereas your opponent spoke as a seasoned politician whose bubble is likely to burst.

Gracias, CenterDoug

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