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Home The Issues Politics Obama vs Clinton and McCain: an epochal contention

Obama vs Clinton and McCain: an epochal contention

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What makes the election of 2008 more significant and pertinent than any others in history? The arguments are many fold. However, the one thing that stand's out is the caliber of candidates contending for the presidency. For the first time in history, The United States of America stands to either elect a woman president or even more significantly, a black man. This is an opportunity that squarely puts this nation at a crossroad -1.) a road of change or 2.) a road of a continuation of our old ways. This is a defining moment in the history of this nation; a moment that stands to alter how the world reveres The United States of America.

"Change we can believe In" are not only words, but the embodiment of an idea that is actually the solution to our plaguing world problems. We are witnessing an increasing degradation of our planet -as is evident with recent cataclysmic disasters; an increasing regional instabilities almost in all seven continents, and not to mention economical havoc that is eminently knocking on many doors. These are clear signs that our old ways of doing things -or in the very least, seeing things- needs to be changed. It is therefore fitting that the theme of this epochal election is "change". However, one has to be careful in understanding what this change stands for. Such caution is necessary because almost all elections are ran on the grounds of change which ultimately yields nothing new after the election.

This much argued, it is true that either candidates running for the presidency is of the intellectual ability to hold this strenuous position. From an academic stand point, these individuals are of the elitist schools; they are members of the same social elitist clubs. All have extensive experience in the legislative branch of the government -as they are sitting United States Senators. They are well connected within the power centers of our society.

This is what we know of these candidates:

  • Barack Obama is a lawyer. He received his training in Political Science at Columbia University and his Juris Doctor at Harvard University. While at Harvard, he served as first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mr. Obama has also served as a constitutional law professor. He was a three term State Senator. And in his current capacity, he is a Junior United States Senator.

  • Hillary Clinton is a lawyer. She received her training in Political Science at Wellesley College and her Juris Doctor at Yale University. She was the first female to become partner at the Venerable Rose Law Firm in Little Rock Arkansas. Mrs. Clinton at one point in her career was a Law professor. From her early days at Wellesley College-where she was the first student in the college history to deliver the commencement address- Mrs. Clinton was thought of as possibly one day becoming the first female president of the United States. During her early years in Washington as bastion figure in Children's Law, she was viewed as someone with "bright political future". During those early years, she began to be molded by individuals of the likes of Betsey Wright -a democratic organizer and consultant, who believed Mrs. Clinton had the potential to become a senator or president. Mrs. Clinton is a former first lady of state of Arkansas (for a twelve year period) and notably, a former first lady of the United States of America (for eight years). In her current capacity, Mrs. Clinton is a second term United States Senator -the first former first lady and first female Senator from the state of New York.

  • John McCain is an Air Force pilot who has since 1977, become a career politician. Mr. McCain's background is not of the academia as are his other two contenders, but of Naval Academy. As the son and grandson of four stars Naval Academy Admirals, Mr. McCain is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy -with training in Naval Aviation. Mr. McCain is the symbol of "honor and duty". He is the face of patriotism. This argument is made on the grounds that he has served his country as a naval pilot during the Vietnam War -at which he nearly lost his life and was a prisoner of war for five and half years.  With the same tenacity, Mr. McCain entered politics as first a US Representative and than becoming US Senator. In this capacity as a politician -or as he once said: his "second career as a public servant", Mr. McCain has spent nearly 28 years in the legislative branch. He is among the senior members of Congress. His experience also include his unsuccessful attempt for the presidency in the 2000 elections.

Here we have it! What seems to be a prerequisite for serious consideration at the presidency -the title of a sitting United States Senator. By all account, we have three candidates with similar public service experiences, and the very best training from the finest academia. More importantly, on the issues, we are hearing all of the right things: affordable health care, lower taxes, cleaner environment, greater priority on education and so on. On these issues of great concern for most of the populous, these candidates -representing the nation's "cream of the crops", are laying for us a very optimistic outlook. Let me submit that I seriously doubt that the American voters have any disillusion as to what past promises have yielded. We all know to well the quasi ethos of politicians: over promise, and under deliver.        

If it is the same political posturing that we're interested in, then clearly we have candidates, all of whom are well qualified for the position. However, if it is real change that we seek, or if we are looking to chart a different course -and show the world that America is beginning to show her true potentiality as a great nation, the candidate of choice is Barack Obama. This choice is not based on his political or academic acumen -though quite relevant, but because he is the face of change. Change, because he is of a group that has been marginalized by the very system at which door he stands and ready to be entrusted for its leadership. This shift in leadership will reverberate true signs of change.

One cannot argue against Mr. Obama's well executed campaign; nor can one argue that Mr. Obama lacks the experience needed to become president. Though we hear the counter argument regarding Obama's inexperience, the argument is however made on the grounds that Mr. Obama is relatively new to the political scene. Indeed, this is precisely the change that is needed in these extraordinary times. The same old adage of political posturing is what has brought us here; therefore, that which we need are extraordinary measures.

The seriousness of Mr. Obama's contention in this election has been quite remarkable. He has raised over a quarter of a billion dollars. His campaign is maintaining a roster of over 1.5 million individual financial supporters. Mr. Obama is engaging an overwhelming number of new and young voters to the election scene. This is a phenomena never seen before in the history of this country -or for that matter, the modern world. On this ground alone, Mr. Obama has made his case of being a well qualified  candidate for the highest office in the nation. He has taken his case directly to the highest body in the government, the Voters -many of whom, as noted, are excited and flocking toward the Obama's camp.

On the following alone, Mr. Obama will do equally the same as any of the other two contenders for the presidency. However, that which distinguish him from the rest, is his race. No doubt, many will see Mr. Obama through the prism of race, and this very fact has dual nature. On one hand, the prism of race can be racist, with those maintaining this vantage point arguing their dislike of the man simply because he is black. From a different prism, this black man -having reach this far in a system that has for so long alienated other who look like him- would signal that this country really is embarking on a road to change. This is the fundamental reason why the theme of this election is change. And such true change comes by way of electing President Obama.

This is not an idiotic argument on advocating the election of Mr. Obama because he is black. This is not a case of affirmative action at the highest order, but rather an argument on what would constitute real change. 

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Last Updated ( Monday, 17 November 2008 14:50 )  
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