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10-25-08 Strumping I mean stumping for Obama

Posted by Sean on October 25, 2008

Well, the canvassing for Obama went pretty well until I got to the madrassa guy.

I should have known things were going to be bad when I arrived at Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters only to learn that all the other volunteers had already left. So they sent me out on my own… without Gwen, which is a shame.

You may remember Gwen. She’s the feisty social worker from the Veterans Administration that I was paried up with last week. We’d signed up to go out together today, but when I arrived, no Gwen. I was on a timetable and couldn’t wait, so they sent me out by myself.

More’s the pity. Gwen would have eaten the madrassa guy alive.

Anyhoo, I walked up to this one house, which had two guys talking on the driveway. They said the people who were registered to vote weren’t there – complete bullshit, but what’re you gonna do? As I’m walking away, one of them disengages from his buddy, looks at me and says:

“Can you answer me one question?”

Can you tell me why Obama won’t confirm his citizenship? That he stumped for Raila Odinga in Kenya, who wants to enact sharia law (“Now, I don’t have any problem with Obama being Muslim,” he adds)? That he holds dual citizenship and thus is banned, by the Constitution, from becoming president? That he attended a madrassa when he was seven while holding an Indonesian passport?

By the way, did I mention that this guy was white? Oh, you guessed that already.

I knew, the moment I heard “madrassa”, that I was dealing with a man who did not inhabit the same reality as me. The documents that I got from the campaign office told me to try and “Persuade” this guy. But I had about as much chance of persuading this guy that Obama wasn’t a foreign Islamofascist fundie terrorist as persuading a paranoid schizophrenic that the Zionist Occupational Government hadn’t sent me to plant mind control chips in his fillings so would he please be so kind as to drop the carving knife.

Let us address the madrassa guy’s concerns here, one at a time.

Obama and Odinga: Oh, the blogosphere loves this one. And the images of Kenyans murdering Kenyans in the street just feeds into all those fears white people have about ACORN and the Dems and the swarthy mud races stealing the election [1]. There’s just one problem with all this: If Snopes.com doesn’t believe it, why should I?

Obama’s Citizenship: Now, I could go to Snopes.com again to debunk this. But then you’d think I was a one-trick pony. So, instead, I’ll go to FactCheck.com.

Look at that! Obama was born in Hawaii. He’s an American citizen. However, because of British law (Kenya was a British colony when Obama was born) and his Kenyan father, Obama also had dual citizenship in the United Kingdom… and then, when Kenya got its independence, in Kenya. However, sez FactCheck.org (emphasis mine): “Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”

Oh, you don’t believe FactCheck.org? Ok, let’s apply a little situational logic to this enigma then.

Don’t you think, if there was anything to this, that the GOP – which is highly motivated to undermine the qualifications of their primary opponent, Barack Obama – would be all over this like ugly on an ape? You wouldn’t be able to shut Sarah Palin up about it. And let’s not forget ths GOP’s lawyers, who would chew through their own muzzles on the barest chance of a legal challenge to Obama’s candidacy.

And yet have you heard anything, anything, from the Republican party – not talk radio, not the blogs, not your e-mail In Box, the mainstream Republican party or the candidates – challenging his citizenship? No. You haven’t. End of story.

Obama in a Madrassa: Didn’t CNN debunk that myth, like, two years ago?

Problem is, I didn’t do this with the madrassa guy.

My strategy to deal with this guy, since I instantly despaired at persuading him once the magic “M” word surfaced, was to get the hell away from him… agree with everything he said while walking the fuck away. Yes. Oh yes. Really? Wow. I didn’t know that. What was that Google keyword again. Yes, the Democratic caucus in Nevada was a clusterfuck.

You see the problem with such a strategy. Pretty soon I was apologizing to this guy about wanting to vote for Obama. I didn’t want to look like a close-minded sorta guy to this fellow – a man who’s mind has probably been hermetically sealed and mummified since the start of the campaign, if not before – so I heard myself apologizing to the madrassa guy. This is a capitulation on the lines of Stephen Jay Gould getting down on his hands and knees and begging forgiveness from a Bible Belt creationist for the theory of evolution.

Gee, what a great canvasser for Obama I turned out to be.

I had an easy time of it last week. Everyone was wildly enthusiactic at the prospect of voting for Obama. But I come up against my first tough customer… and I cracked.

I failed.

Part of it lies in my own ambivalence about Obama. I’m basically voting for him because:

  • He’s not a Republican.
  • He’s not John McCain.
  • He’s not Ralph Nader, who seems like a bit of a putz lately.
  • He’s not Ron Paul, who frankly scares the hell out of me.

That’s why I’m out canvassing for him – not because he’s the best candidate, but because he’s the one likely to be the least toxic to the United States and the world. It’s either him or three old white guys, two of which haven’t had a new idea in decades and a third who seems to draw the support of a lot of neo-Nazis.

‘Course, try explaining that to the madrassa guy. You can’t. The problem is, I didn’t even try.

[1] Democrats stealing the election? DEMOCRATS stealing the election? When the Republicans did exactly that in 2000 and swiftboated John Kerry in 2004?

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One Response to “10-25-08 Strumping I mean stumping for Obama”

  1. […] 10-25-08 Strumping I mean stumping for Obama […]

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