City of Roses
Grinch, the thing is that there are no qualifications to see. Qualifications are a matter of record. They are either there or not. Obama was a complete unknown until he made a speech at the DNC and impressed people with his speaking ability. That's it. He continues to make good speeches, although it has come to light that many of his speeches have contained more than a few "cut-and-paste" wordings borrowed from other people's speeches. People follow him because his cry is "change!", a popular gambit that many have used. Hillary has done nothing as a senator of New York, handing that ball off to the other senator, allowing her freedom to pursue the presidency. Her only claim to fame was creating a new health care system, which was an abysmal failure. She claims to have qualifications from her time as being first lady but, thanks to her husband, those records are sealed and will not be seen by the public. Her cry is also "Change!". In both cases, change really means putting a Democrat back in the White House and also represents what will be left in one's pocket after their tax hikes. A cry for change? All I can say is...be careful what you wish for.
There's no question that Barack Obama lacks a certain kind of experience that has often been favored and recommended in American politics: executive and legislative experience.........and in that respect, should Barack Obama become the 44th President of the United States, he will become, hands-down, the least experienced president in American history in that regard.
Yet, I also believe, rarely but surely, there comes a time when there is an anti-incumbency vibe permeating the national landscape, where their elected leaders are not fulfilling the promises of the people, where they feel their nation is heading in the wrong direction, and, in contrast from usual sentiments, in wave election cycles like this, "experience" can prove to be a ten-letter dirty word if it means more of the same empty promises and window dressing, the lack of leadership, the absense of judgment.
It appears most evident this election cycle will be one of those times, where the 110th Congress is polling at unprecedented new lows since approval rating tracking history began, and the Bush presidency is polling barely north of the lowest approval rating in the history of poll tracking: Harry Truman's 23%, with more than 70% of the nation believes the country is headed in the wrong direction.......despite having a Bush Administration replete with individuals who had served or have been serving in Washington for decades including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and others, a House Speaker serving Congress for over twenty years, a Senate Majority Leader serving in Congress for twenty-six years (about forty years of political experience if you include his role as lieutenant governor) a House Minority Leader serving in Congress for eighteen years, and a Senate Minority Leader serving in Congress for twenty-four years (even longer if you count his time as an intern on Capitol Hill).
Thus, perhaps that is just part of the problem to many Americans; this type of "experience" is just what's wrong with American politics right now, and many Americans are hungry for some sort of shift from it, many so desperate for it that, when they see a candidate who one is well-aware that he has only served in the US Senate for three years, over a third of that time running for the presidency, he/she is thinking: "It's just crazy enough to work!" or "Why not, I'd go with something new over a repeat of what we've seen these past several years any day!"
Now, conventional wisdom has argued and continues to argue often that Obama is too "inexperienced" to be the President of the United States, thus is "not qualified". My first argument against this notion is that, when you look at the dictionary definition of "qualification", you get:
1. a quality, accomplishment, etc., that fits a person for some function, office, or the like.
2. a circumstance or condition required by law or custom for getting, having, or exercising a right, holding an office, or the like.
The former definition can be open to so many interpretations regarding what constitutes as a genuine "quality" or "accomplishment". Some may argue "military experience" fits that ideal of "accomplishment", others think running or having ran a successful business matches the criteria, yet others think having served as a UN Ambassador to the United Nations, or putting the Pentagon Papers into the public record, or even being a 6°š5 tall Hollywood actor, rings true as a sort of worthy quality.
I happen to believe myself that Barack Obama possesses some promising qualities that make him qualified to be President in other ways. For instance, while he may lack experience on the executive front, he has many years of experience in the grassroots; working in the early to mid 80's to provide low-income housing to Chicago-area residents as the director of the Developing Communities Project, or spending four years as an assistant attorney at Miner, Barnhill & Galland to represent voices of community organizers and civil rights, or regularly and consistently pushing the issue of anti-proliferation to the public forefront, even before he was elected a Senator in 2004.
Now some may argue that the fact he has no military experience alone makes him unqualified. Frankly, I think the fact that Obama has actually lived abroad at times in his life provides an enormously important quality that too many modern presidents have lacked, because it is through such an experience that a sensitivity to the nationalism of other cultures and peoples globally is sharpened so, whenever Obama speaks about issues such as anti-proliferation, the genocide in Darfur and the Middle East peace negotiations, he sounds convincing, and has a great instinctual grasp of international affairs where, on some of his foreign trips I've read about, he knows how to be diplomatic and firm at the same time, like on August 28th, 2006, when he visited Kenya and greeted President Mwai Kibaki with respect, yet at the same time sharply denounced and criticized the graft and erosion of civil liberties that was corrupting the nation, and even went further to visit The Standard in person; a national newspaper that had been ransacked by his party's officials.
It's there where I think Obama has had a more direct and personal understanding of these adorementioned issues, moreso than any commander-in-chief in recent memory, because he has actually lived, and has family who have lived and continue to live, in areas of the world where personal liberties and civil rights are seemingly a pipe dream often. And to me at least, when ones knowledge and sensitivity of the issues is personal, sometimes autobiographical, ones credibility is bolstered.
THAT'S how I think Obama is actually MORE qualified, in some respects, than either Hillary Clinton or John McCain are, and why I believe he is the most likely of the three to begin restoring our nation's images in the hearts and minds of the international community and showing that America truly is the beacon of freedom and opportunity of the world, which matters the most to me in that, from a national security standpoint, we can't expect to win the fight against terrorism if our country and foreign policy are depicted in an unfavorable, antagonistic light, and the best way to quash these threats is to repair, and sinew, these global alliances to confront these testing threats, with a two-fold sense of pragmatism and firmness constantly gleaming.
I certainly won't deny that Barack Obama's rise to fame has been quite abrupt, and phenominal, as though he trampolined from the unknown to the headlines in a single bound. But I absolutely believe many who are inclined to support Obama are NOT sheep, and have their reasons on why they're supporting him; NOT because his speeches make them feel good, NOT because he's an African-American, NOT because people like the "Obama Girl" said so.....but because they see in him a candidate who has a special set of qualities and accomplishments that make him stand out among the pack that they fathom are presidential.
That doesn't at all diminish that, regardless of which election it is, one should be encouraged to research and study the candidates most carefully, for it would be careless just to wish or gamble for something based on what someone says rhetorically, whether it be "change", "experience" or "leadership"..............which is something I agree wholeheartedly with you on.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"