In BWI airport yesterday, awaiting to board my return flight to SFO, I stopped in to the Hudson Bookshop, and noticed a copy of The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. I will come out and say that I am an ardent supporter of Senator Obama. Honestly this is not based on any personal contact I have had with the man. Nor is it based on any extensive viewing of the primary debates, or any thorough knowledge of his past legislation and current positions on issues. Like many others, I support Obama because he strikes me as extraordinarily genuine, intelligent, and sufficiently informed on issues to do a good job as president. His momentum is truly impressive, and looking back it all started with an enthusiasm amongst people in their twenties, thirties and forties that has not existed for any democratic candidate in the past two decades. I am generally not one for reading books written by active, or retired, politicians. Nevertheless, I felt the need to read Obama's book and better acquaint myself. Know your candidate, right?
And man, am I glad that I did. The book was an affirmation of what makes Obama as attractive a presidential candidate as he appears to so many of us. In fluid, down-to-earth, conversational prose, Obama gives the reader a better sense of his personal background and his career thus far as a politician. Throughout, in broad brush strokes, he summarizes recent political history, tries to explain the bitter, divisive nature of current politics, and offers his take on recent US history and where the country is going. Some reasons, solidified during my reading, of why I like Barack Obama for president:
- Like 99% of Americans, he does not come from an overly priviledged background
- His multi-culti, well-travelled upbringing instilled in him a unique perspective
- He is an experienced grass roots organizer
- His proposed ideas, though untested and at times vague, are creative and unlike anyone else's I have heard. They also seem realistic and fairly easily implemented.
- He probably knows the difference between 'crunk' and 'hyphy.'
And most importantly: HE IS REAL.
I know, this does not mention specifics, and that is of course the popular criticism of both Obama and his backers. Doesn't matter. Obama is as real as they come, and right now I think the US wants someone who is real to lead.