The Other I

October 27, 2008

From here to eternity

Filed under: Political thoughts,Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 8:56 pm
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As Woody Allen once said, “Eternity is a long time – especially toward the end.”

On the other hand, it’s only eight days to the US election.   We bought a pumpkin in the market yesterday, and today played with the idea of carving  “HOPE” and putting it in the window.  It would certainly stand out in this most English of villages.  If I can get an American flag and Obama wins, we will hang it out on inauguration day in January.

In the meantime, I woke up at 4:am this morning and thought “It’s midnight in New York, and the polls must be closed in California by now!  I’ll get up and see how the networks are projecting the election results.”  I wasn’t actually out of bed when I realized I’d been dreaming.

Well, thinking about the election distracts me from thinking about the global economic crisis.  Or should I say crises in the plural?  I still have hope for the outcome of the election anyway.

July 26, 2008

An English take on Obama

Filed under: Political thoughts,The English,Uncategorized — theotheri @ 3:40 pm

According to the polls, 72% of the Germans would vote for Obama rather than McCain.  I suspect the percentages aren’t too wildly different in  much of Europe, including  Great Britain.  The British, however, are not given to enthusiasms.  We listened to Obama’s speech to several hundred thousand in Berlin two days ago.  While I immersed myself in a warm glow reminiscent of JFK and anti-Vietnam protests and civil rights marches, my husband muttered “Yes, buts” like “how is he going to accomplish that?” or “what does that mean,” or “Congress isn’t going to cooperate on that.” 

In my sober moments I know that Obama cannot possibly live up to the heights some people are expecting of him.  The world is real, for one thing.  And his followers often want contradictory things or believe in impossibilities.  But I think America, and the world, needs to believe in our best selves again, to hope that something besides the most basic instincts of survival can motivate us.  I think just making this clarion call of hope to a cynical, weary, battered world has a great value.  McCain doesn’t do that.  Obama does.

But while some of us are taking all of this terribly terribly seriously, the English humor adds a saving spice to the deadly earnestness of the converted.  Gerard Baker, a columnist for the London Times, has been covering Obama’s European tour.  He ended the column with Obama’s visit to London from France today to meet with Tony Blair (breakfast), the Prime Minister Gordon Brown (whose party suffered a stunning bi-election defeat on Thursday), and David Cameron (the currently wildly-popular Tory leader hoping to win the next general election):   

On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.

And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”  

For the whole column see (

June 4, 2008

A pause for a mini-celebration

Filed under: Political thoughts,Uncategorized — theotheri @ 4:04 pm
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I’m taking a pause for the concerns, joys, and distractions that fill most of my days to celebrate Obama’s victorious delegate numbers.  He is going to be the Democratic presidential candidate.

I know, I know, I know this does not mark the beginning of peace and prosperity and justice and love throughout the world.  I know the problems facing even the wisest, most effective, and fortunate world leader today are immense, some beyond solution.

But I’m thrilled.  Not as thrilled as I hope to be the morning of Friday, November 7, but it’s a big step on the way.

I do wonder what Hilary Clinton is hoping to achieve though by refusing to concede.  Is it just that she cannot face that she has failed with utter finality to reach the goal she has worked so long for?  Or is she holding out for some consolation prize?   An article in the Economist convinced me that an Obama/Clinton combo would not be a dream ticket, and might lead to a disastrously ineffective administration if they were elected.  So I hope Obama chooses a different running mate.  But that’s a worry for him and for another day.

Today is a pause for a mini-celebration.

May 9, 2008

Abraham Lincoln and Barak Obama

Filed under: Just Stuff,Political thoughts — theotheri @ 4:14 pm
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I read an article this morning pointing out some similarities between Lincoln & Obama I found somewhat surprising.  Both were/are

  • lawyers
  • from Illinois
  • seeking the presidency at a relatively young age (51 and 46)

Both Lincoln and Obama were/are

  • relative newcomers to Washington with no more than four years experience in Congress, but with significant experience in Illinois politics
  • dogged by accusations of extremism and charges of associations with potentially violent radicals
  • opposed a war launched on dubious grounds – Lincoln against Polk’s war against Mexico based on unfounded accusations of provocation;  Obama against Bush’s war against Iraq based on false claims of WMD’s
  • challenged by the question of race in America which each addressed in a major speech before their party had nominated its presidential candidate

 The biggest question of all is whether they both were/will be:

  • elected President of the United States of America
  • be remembered among the great presidents




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