When we speak of the Information Age, we generally think of computers and the Internet. We reflect on the amazing amount of data that can be moved and stored by modern high speed communications systems. What we do not give much thought is the improved quality of our communications. It is not just the amount of information that we have available, it is its quality (of the information) that has made a profound difference. Unlike any era that preceded this one, the very best of those amongst us have the ability to display their communications skills. Even the dead can now speak to us — whether they be a writer, an actor, a musician, or an orator.
In practical terms, we seem to value oratorical skills above all others. Because we demand that our leaders be great orators, it must be what we consider the highest calling. So it is that Barack Obama rose to national prominence when he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Now, with just four years in the Senate, Obama is close to winning the White House. What has this man to say that has made him such a powerful national figure?
For the average citizen, the easiest way to find out what Obama has to say is to go to his website. In part because Obama has been campaigning for months, his website shows the benefits of a lot of hard work. There is more to it than that, however. Obama knows how to use the Internet, and he is using it as an effective fundraising tool. As this article notes (here), the Obama campaign has raised tens of millions over the Internet in small donations.
Nonetheless, the Internet cut both ways. Supposedly, for example, columnist Maureen Dowd wrote an article suggesting that much of Obama’s Internet money is coming from Chinese and Middle East sources. That, however, appears to have been a hoax (see here and here). Instead of being an unscrupulous operation, Obama’s website is instead just highly effective.
Whether you are for or against Obama, his fundraising success bodes well for the future of our democracy. Used properly, the Internet gives the average citizen a greater say in who can run successfully for public office. The Internet gives each us a device we can use to break the lock the major parties have on the system. At the same, the silly story about a fictitious column demonstrates the power of the Internet to spread a false rumor.
So what about Obama’s website (see here)? Right away Barack Obama greets us with a nice speech asking us to join a great cause. Entering the website — skipping pass the offer to join — we find www.barackobama.com is not just about Obama; it is about CHANGE.
What is CHANGE? Anybody that says Obama does not have a plan and just makes flowery speeches has not visited his website. The Issues page is long and detailed. For example, his website includes a six page document describing his policies on Civil Rights (here). Is the document somewhat vague? What political policy document from a candidate is not at least somewhat vague? Nonetheless, Obama states his intent and his focus. If he states he wants a Hate Crimes statute, for example, don’t we know what that means? You don’t? Well, read this.
Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to reach violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation,gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made conspiracy to commit hate crimes against the law. As president, he will ensure that the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division makes hate crime a priority. (from here)
What are hate crimes? Obama’s support for hate crimes statutes are one of those things that should lead us to doubt that Obama is the great unifier he might otherwise seem to be.
Let’s back up a minute. What is Obama’s appeal? The man is attractive; he is relatively young, tall, and slim. Obama is disciplined. He speaks carefully and thoughtfully. Rather than give offense, Obama tries to be nice to everybody except unnamed special interests. Obama stays focused on his cause, CHANGE.
What could be wrong with making government work for the benefit of all the little people? Go through each of the issues on Obama’s website or just read
THE BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGE. Then ask yourself the following question. If you vote for an Obama presidency, will you be voting for Obama because you believe he seeks to empower individuals or save victims? The first approach gives people the opportunity to help themselves. The second makes the victims dependent upon the tender mercies of their empowered government.
When government empowers people, it restrains monopolies (often itself) and allows the People to take control of the fruits of their own labor. When the government saves victims, it become the monopoly.
To justify becoming a government monopoly, government leaders must pit us against each other. That, for example, is what Hate Crime Statutes are about. Any crime is a hate crime — or worse, simple indifference for our fellows. Hate crimes, however, elevate certain “victim” groups. It gives certain groups a status that make crimes against these groups especially unlawful. To commit a crime against a member of one of these groups becomes a political crime. Instead of making justice blind to race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation,gender identity, or physical disability; we accomplish the exact opposite.
Nonetheless, under the rule of Barack Obama, life would become simpler. You would know he cares deeply. He would find someone to blame. Because you deserve it, he would find some way to give you what rightfully belongs to you.
What should Conservatives do about Barack Obama’s website? First, we need to visit it. Then we need to talk about Obama’s proposals and remind our fellow Americans about the difference between a republic and a democracy.
Because democracies do not limit the power of the majority, democracies do not work. When Obama tries to make Americans feel like they have been victimized so that he can tax the “rich” for their benefit, we need to remind our fellow Americans that this arrangement makes government — and therefore Barack Obama — the middleman. Some how, some way, the middleman will take his cut.
This is the third post in a series on the 2008 election candidates (from the perspective of Gainesville, Virginia). Here are the earlier posts.
The right-wing liberal wonders about Obama’s consistency on Iraq (here).
QandO references and admires a post that reviews Obama’s political experience (here).
Howling Latina is still campaigning for Hillary Clinton (here).
Caroline County records the episode of the backfiring magazine cover (here).
VB Demo provides a link to Obama’s latest speech on Iraq (here). (Author’s Note: Just before Obama visits Iraq, he gives his latest policy position? Why? John McCain observes how backwards that is here.)