05 February 2008


the future face of america to the world?

later today, millions of americans in 24 states will go to the polls to participate in our curious process that determines which candidates will represent the democratic and republican parties in november's general election. no big surprise, but it's the democratic party that's yielded a woman and an african american of mixed heritage as its two most viable candidates for president. with regards to breaking gender and racial barriers, both represent powerful, feel-good symbols of american opportunity (albeit, delayed).

after what felt like a ridiculously prolonged intro, last month the voting contests between hillary clinton and barack obama finally began. watching the epic battle between the forces of cynicism, selfishness and inauthenticity (clinton) battle the underdog forces of optimism and hope (obama), has played havoc on my emotions.

i'm ashamed to admit that over the past several months, each time i entertained thoughts of an obama victory, they were quickly supplanted by the gloomy expectation that the clinton monster would do whatever necessary to emerge victorious. and yet, every time i've succumb to the cynic conclusion that we can but won't elect a president that inspires the american imagination... i watch a youtube clip of 16,000 people outside of taco bell arena in idaho (!) waiting to hear him speak on saturday... or, i read that his campaign has received 500,000 financial donations, with 90% making contributions under $250. and despite hillary's strategic tears x2, and her husband's condescending, race-baiting remarks, obama's surging popularity keeps narrowing the gap between conventional wisdom and extraordinary opportunity. thankfully, there are millions of other americans out there who aren't as easily discouraged as i've been.

it's unlikely that today's primary elections and caucuses will settle the race, but i'll be watching the returns maniacally, tense but hopeful that they'll put my cynicism to rest.

while it's been great to see how young asian americans have been mobilizing behind obama's candidacy, this is really special. susan ahn cuddy is the usa's first female gunnery officer AND daughter of the late, great korean independence fighter, dosan ahn chang ho (도산 안창호) (she is photographed here with her daughter).


Ondae said...

eloquently written.

I'm very hopeful for Obama; he's our only hope.

Jonith said...

all of the germans i've spoken to, an inherently cynical people, warily support obama. wary only b/c they don't want to be disappointed again. the german magazine spiegel has been particularly sardonic and lame about his candidacy, but i think it's mostly pre-defense.