Holy Cow Obama! What are you thinking?


Ever since Barack Obama became the presumptive nominee for president for the Democratic party, I have un-glued myself from the 24 hour news cycle and political analysis on TV. While I do admit to suffering from overdose from the long primary season, I am also getting increasingly turned off by the growing momentum towards 'politics as usual' in America. While I still believe that Obama is the better candidate for president of the United States, over the past few weeks his statements have made me raise my eyebrows so many times - it is starting to look like I ODed on botox.

While I was squirmy, I still let it slide when Obama announced at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) meeting that Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel. It really is not his decision to make, especially since the rest of the world still views the annexation of Arab East Jerusalem as illegal. He later rescinded the statement.

Then there was the incident at a rally in Detroit where two Muslim women wearing head scarves were asked to move out of the camera shot by Obama campaign volunteers. This story was then followed by another when the New York Times reported how Minnesota representative Keith Ellison felt slighted when eager to support the Obama campaign, he was told to cancel a trip to a mosque in Iowa because it would not coincide with their tightly wrapped message. While Obama has visited churches and synagogues, he has avoided visiting any mosques. Although I was disappointed because this goes against his message of unity, I could still appreciate how Obama has to tread carefully given the tremendous ignorance out there regarding the religion of Islam. And there are groups having a field day spreading vicious rumors all over the internet about his past. But it does make me question what happened to the man who took a stand and took a public HIV test in Kenya to promote AIDS education in 2006 and gave the courageous and poignant speech on race in America months ago.

Unfortunately over the past couple weeks, the shifts in his message have continued. First there was his new found support of the Supreme Court's overturn of District of Columbia's 32 year local gun ban. And now, more frighteningly is Obama's recent decision to support legislation granting legal immunity to telecom companies that have partaken in the Bush administration's program of wiretapping without warrants. During the Democratic primaries that ended not so long ago, Obama stated that he would fight such legislation. Now his campaign is trying to put a positive spin on this dramatic shift.

From what I have read from the political pundits, any candidate who wishes to get elected to the White House needs to move to the political center - which I can appreciate. However, in trying to become the new face of politics and everyone's candidate - left, right, blue, red, educated, blue collar, wealthy, poor, evangelical, atheist, urban, suburban, rural... - Obama runs the very real risk of diluting his message and alienating his staunchest supporters who formed his base from the very beginning.

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