Now that I have only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to choose between, I have given a great deal of thought to what the differences between them are. There are good things about both of them, and on many issues they seem to agree with each other--in fact, it's not so much on issues that they differ, but character and personality.
Hillary is a person of great accomplishments and is obviously very good at getting things done. She is effective and efficient. But...; I have always had a persistent "but..." in my mind about her, especially when it came time to think about whether or not I would be happy to have her running the country. What was the root of my hesitation? What made me, and some others, get a twinge of uncertainty about her in spite of all she has done?
The fact that she has been able to accomplish so much, and to be so doggedly persistent in the face of difficulties, seems to put her in an almost superhuman category, and out of the realm of being a person who could understand the feelings and problems of ordinary individuals. I have begun to have the uncomfortable feeling that she wants to be at the top so much, she would be willing to do almost anything to get there, and that the desire to excel might lead her to believe that ends justify means.
I first heard of Barack Obama when he gave such an outstanding keynote speech at the Democratic convention. It was beautiful, and many others reacted to it as I did. It was not like the usual political rhetoric, but somehow more reasonable, more adult, more imaginative, and more compelling. I thought at the time, "This is a guy to watch. He has something unusual to give."
Now that I have had many chances to see him and hear him, my initial reaction has been confirmed. It is not just that he is a good orator, it's not just his delivery, but the substance of what he chooses to say and the way he says it. He speaks from an inner calmness and balance that is reassuring. He talks about what "we" can all do together. He includes us in a very fundamental way. On the other hand, Hillary tells us what she has done in the past, and what she can do for us in the future. She doesn't include us. She may care very much about regular people, but she fails to express that, and instead exudes an aura of superiority and emotional coldness. Barack, on the other hand, gives the impression of being human and empathetic, in spite of being an unusually brilliant and capable man. His humanness and his balance are apparent even when he is making points.
A person who believes they must do it all is not likely to be good at delegating. I heard a quote from Hillary on just that subject, saying that a president who delegates power would not be effective. I think Hillary runs the danger of making herself responsible for everything, while Obama strikes me as more likely to recognize his own limitations, to seek information and advice from others, and to have the judgment to be able to use that information well.
His judgment and his ability to think creatively make up for the lack of experience that Hillary so often mentions. Experience isn't everything. I can think of many experienced and knowledgeable people that I wouldn't want for president. I have confidence in Obama because he is so intelligent, so adult in his outlook, and such a creative thinker that he could weather any storm that arises better than most people could, experienced or not. I feel he is a man of principle, and does not believe that ends justify means.
Lastly, it appears that Hillary's campaign is not nearly as organized, nor running as smoothly as Obama's, and that provides an important clue as to which one would be the most effective in the oval office.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
After looking through my bird books, I have come to the conclusion this must be a house finch, but I'm still not dead sure. If anyone who reads this happens to know, please tell me. Incidentally, the shots were taken in England. Perhaps it's a bird we don't have in the U.S.?