Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 5/13/2008 [Archive]

A White Girl for Obama

A White Girl for Obama

By Martha Randolph Carr

As usual, the pundits are touting the distinctions between the candidates and then divvying up the voters according to the most obvious differences. John McCain is expected to draw in the older, wealthier, white male population while it was said Hillary Clinton was rallying a wealthier, white female crowd to get out and vote. Unfortunately for her, there apparently weren't enough of that category to keep her in the race. I'm aware Hillary is still hanging in there, but at this point that's more ego than reality. Barack Obama had the black vote sewed up while the blue collar was Clinton's, which has raised the question of whether or not those same voters will flock to Obama in the general election this November. These are the basic theories which are mutually agreed upon as the basis to argue about who will become the next U.S. president. Except they leave me feeling like the odd white girl out. I'm not a fan of Hillary's policy.

Normally, my preferences are a pretty good reflection of Middle America whether we're talking about fashion, movies, parenting or political choices. I'd like to be cutting edge but I'm not, which makes me a great barometer. If that's true, according to the talking heads I should be lamenting the loss of Hillary, but I'm not and that's where the pundits made a left turn and left the mainstream behind. The political forecasters are missing just how tired we all are of a drawn-out war, how wary we've become of the ecology and how worried we are about our financial picture. Nothing has worked out the way we had hoped it would, not even a little bit. Decisions that were made by the current administration, which have a strong whiff of live for today, have led to knots we may never be able to untie. The old argument about how things will right themselves given enough time isn't working anymore. We have even pushed that idea too far and the bulk of the population gets that as well. If we want a future at all we're going to actually have to pay attention this time.

The only presidential candidate left who appears to be faintly aware of how necessary change has become is Barack Obama. Yes, he's taking his share of potshots at his opponent, referred to some of us as gun-toting and he has Rev. gotta'-be-Wright to worry about, but he's also doing a better job of talking about how we can all work together, regardless of our viewpoints. He's rallying the crowds to believe in a big picture that includes everyone in a way that we believe he means it. In other words, he's been smart enough to make it less about himself and what he can do and empowered us to wonder what we can do together. He's changed the dynamics of the conversation and made us wonder if he might be able to lead us to change the way we've been operating.

The old paradigms we have been using in the U.S. since before the Cold War started are getting in our way. We can't dominate by force anymore unless we'd like to see ourselves pushed back much like the old British empire of the last century. We can't keep mining for minerals with no thought to how we blew off a mountaintop and choked the rivers without calculating the loss to the diminishing water tables or climate changes. And, we are forever tied to the world financial markets and can no longer make policy that benefits industry while hurting individuals without doing serious damage to the general economy.

All of the rules actually changed awhile ago but the consequences have started to show up and the voters can see that. To preserve what we have, correct what we can and create new policy that is sustainable for the greatest number we are going to have to start with a blank-slate-style in the way we form policy and actually collaborate. The old system of get as much as you can of what you want for as long as you can, in other words see government as competition, is no longer appealing to us here in Middle America. Yes, we want to thrive but these days we're a little concerned about surviving as well.

Martha Randolph Carr's latest book, A Place to Call Home, is available wherever books are sold. If you'd like Martha to come and speak to your group go to

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