Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama - Too Good To Be True? I Think Not

Last night, I read an article in The New Yorker by Nicholas Lemann, titled "Worlds Apart, Obama, McCain, and the future of foreign policy". I won't take you through the whole piece ( and aren't you glad?); it's long, and it's there at the link if you'd like to read it. What struck me in the article is the description of Obama offered by Robert Danzig, a Secretary of the Navy in the Clinton administration, who is now among Obama's foreign policy advisers. He said this about Obama:

“There is a degree of self-reflection, self-awareness, and psychological wholeness he arrived at after going through a period of working through his identity as the son of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas”.... “Having worked for two Presidents and with many Presidential candidates during the last thirty years, I have not seen one as psychologically well balanced, and as good about not injecting his ego into a problem.”

That's how I now see Obama. He was not my first choice as the Democratic candidate, because I agreed nearly 100% with Dennis Kucinich's policies. Dennis was my first love, and he will always be my love, but he didn't make the cut. Then, I moved on from Dennis to next best, and I was not completely happy with any of the others. I'd go back and forth, but in my heart, I never really settled upon any of the others, while, at the same time, believing that any of them would be better than a Republican. For heaven's sake, we've had enough of them! Begone!!!

I don't embrace all of Obama's policies: for instance, I'd much prefer a single-payer health care system run by the federal government than Obama's plan. I differ with him on other policies, but laying aside our differences, as I tried to settle on a candidate, Obama seemed a little too good to be true. But as I have observed him over the months since he has been the candidate of choice, I've come to admire him more and more, and I believe him to be the man that he appears to be. He possesses a coolness, a command of himself, and a dignity that I believe is real. And black men growing up in the US, certainly get enough training in staying cool, don't they? If an African-American man wants to succeed, he must never be seen as "the angry black man". That is so absolutely scary to many in the US. Of course, angry white men, which McCain certainly seemed to be last night, put themselves at less at risk when they show anger.

Probably not too many folks changed their minds about whom they will vote for as they watched the debate last night, but, to me, the contrast is stark, and the choice is easy. What puzzles me is the number of undecided voters at this stage of the game.


  1. Thanks for sharing this quotation. It's heartening.

  2. Thank you for the link. I'm going over to read this and if it's as good as this quote, I'll spread the word as well. I too came to Obama a bit late, and I don't agree with him on everything, but I do think he has the makings of greatness in him. His approach to problem solving is highly impressive and his manner of approaching foreign policy is equally impressive. thanks Mimi for the link.

  3. I thought the article was worth a read.

  4. Printed it out and read it on Choir Retreat. Especially liked the last paragraph.

  5. I just followed the link from Huffington Post to your blog and love it!!!

    Keep up the good work, Mimi!

  6. Hello Mimi!

    Read about you and your blog on Huffington Post. I am from Springfield, IL and have supported Senator Obama from the beginning. It was his intellect and diversity that drew me to him and continues to amaze me as his campaign continues.

    Your life story sounds equally amazing. I intend to check in on your blog henceforth. I lost my beloved mother 3 years ago. When I read about you, I thought of her immediately.

    God Bless,

  7. Hats off to you for a thoughtful blog and thanks to HuffPost for leading me to it.
    As an expat living in Canada, I, too, long to see a single payer health system in the U.S. What's more, I believe Barack Obama shares that desire, but I understand that voicing it would have meant political suicide. If he is elected, we can have hope.

    As for why so many are still undecided, I think the country has been led with such cynicism and mendacity for so long that many people have lost the capacity to hope and, indeed, see Obama as "too good to be true."
    Holding my breath until this election is over, Marcia

  8. Grandmere Mimi,

    Thank you so much for a wonderful post. As a fellow cajun, I was delighted to come across your blog on Huffington Post. I will become a regular visitor, because you and this blog are awesome.



  9. Read about you in Huffington Post so thought I would visit. Loved your quote from Danzig.

    As a Canadian, I agree about your take on single payer health care; it's political suicide to talk about it, but it's financial suicide and literal suicide *not* to implement.

    Keep it up!

  10. Hi all. Welcome! I was wondering how you made your way to this older post, but I see that Georgianne linked to it.

    Thanks for your kind words, and do come to visit again.

  11. Grandmere Mimi,

    I'm so happy to have found your blog via HuffingtonPost. I love that you are supporting Senator Obama, but even more that you've made yourself at home on the web. The more of us gals "of a certain age" that make our presence known and our voices heard the better.
    I will be visiting your blog regularly and look forward to more of your wisdom.

  12. Grandmere Mimi,

    I, too, found your link on Huffington Post and wanted to see your website.

    The quotation from Danzig about Obama is an excellent summary of his character. I have been most impressed with his intelligence and sense of wholeness and inclusiveness. George Bush campaigned as being a "uniter, not a divider," but in Obama, I see a true uniter and a leader in this time of change.

    I am also a Canadian, and think that a federal health-care system that provides basic coverage to all is essential. Obama radiates sincerity in his concern for all Americans and I feel sure that he will pay attention.

    Great blog!

  13. Wonderful post! I'm a Cajun transplant living in Tasmania now with my partner of 22 years and it is heartening to read your post.
    I know it is difficult voting for Obama but like you i was always a fish out of water in that part of the world. My Grandma who lived in Indian Bayou was a great influence and sanctuary for a sensitive nature boy. Reading your blog brought back memories of Gumbo Ya-Ya and massive thunderstorms that shake your bones as they come off the Gulf. Laissez le bon temps roulez mon cher!

  14. Dear Grandmère Mimi,

    My name is Janet, and I'm new to your site. Thank you for your blog! Very enlightening! Hope it's okay with you if I reply to your statement..

    "What puzzles me is the number of undecided voters at this stage of the game."

    I think it is because the United States is an extremely diverse country - in many ways - not just race, but economic class, religion etc. and most people fear what they don't understand. It's difficult to get real information from ANY political race...they seem to point out what you should dislike, distrust, or fear about the other candidate...rather than have a civil debate about issues. It's been that way for a while. : (
    It gets worse when candidates choose mudslinging and half truths to shift the focus to him/herself. I have to search to try and sort out the truth from the fiction...But the meanness and half truths seem to be much worse this year. I have seen so many people blogging about "The evil truth" about BOTH candidates that came from viral emails that have been fact-checked by many organizations as being false...yet they repeat them rather than look it up. Maybe they are scared of the unknown, scared of change, and it is so easy to hate when you can throw it out to the anonymous internet. We are going to have to live together after all this is over...maybe we should start being a little more grown up now, and explain why we chose our candidate instead of putting down the other one. I am a 49 year old white female who has been registered to vote since I turned 18. After many hours, days, weeks, months of research. I am voting for the candidate that I feel is the most likely to...

    1. Lead the people in our government to work together.
    2. Improve our economic, environmental, and political direction.
    3. To make more investments in education, health care, infrastructure.
    4. Be a respected representative of our country with foreign leaders
    5. Be intelligent, steady, and willing to get the best advice & take well thought out action.

    I started out with an open mind. Spent months looking at the candidates...The best I can tell... I'm voting for "that skinny guy with the unlikely name". Yes, Obama. I've checked out the negatives and found the ones that truly concerned me are only partly true, untrue, understandable, unimportant, or guilt by association. The things I found out about McCain/Palin that I can't ignore are recorded errors of judgment and ethics. That is the level of politics and the media now...Who might do less harm / maybe do some good...

    I think, honestly, some people are prejudiced against voting for an african-american. What a loss it would be to judge any person by their looks instead of their beliefs. I believe Obama has policies that are probable improvements overall and a viable transition from the current system. Hope so. Things could use some improvement...I hope people will take a deep breath, and think... : )

    FYI : Education
    Columbia University - B.A. Political science with a specialization in international relations
    Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

    University of Delaware - B.A. In history and B.A. In political science.
    Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

    United States Naval Academy

    Palin:University of Idaho - Bachelor of Science degree in communications-journalism, where she also minored in political science.

    My Sources:,
    Magazines online: Readers Digest, Time, Newsweek, Kiplinger report, etc.
    "Newspapers" online, world wide and several from each candidates' states


    Well, on a personal note...I'm not just looking forward to this whole nasty campaign being over(only 8 more days! Yea!) I'm
    looking forward to hearing what Obama has say at his inauguration. I have great hopes, and will say many prayers for him, that he can say something that can begin to heal our nation after these months and months of dirty politics. I feel like I need a bath!
    Hope you find something interesting here, and that I don't "go on" too much!
    Have a wonderful day, :) Janet

  15. Obama reminds me of my favorite quote:

    Be the change you want
    to see in the world.

  16. Bonjour (1),

    I've just dicovered you and your blog on the Huffington Post.

    You're a great and terrific mimi.

    I lost my grand mother 8 years ago, she was 105 years old and even if she was terribly tired, she kept a wonderful sinterest for the world.

    At 98, during a little chat, she explained to me what was all the internet about and why it was so useful to communicate all over the world. And she got it prefectly well !

    I'll be back on your blog soon to read you.

    (1) I'm french and living near Paris.

  17. Aaah, you're beautiful for what you do here! I like your curious mind, your independent bent and fearless integrity. And you write well.
    You've taken a strong position on Mr. Obama, and it is a great pleasure to read how you see him.
    As a little boy growing up in Duluth, Minnesota in the early 50s, one of my first lessons in life came when I rejected the racism (though it didn't have that name then) my grandmother expressed. From what I was learning in school and reading in the encyclopedia, I knew that things in my country were not as they should be. From then, I dreamed of seeing prejudice set aside that our nation might fulfill the promises I had discovered written into our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.
    I get genuinely choked up from time now as I see America making a choice in favor of Barack Obama for President.

  18. My wife is a lifelong Rep. and active in a campaign and donating money for the first time. I'm a Vietnam combat vet and I've been a staunch Dem. most of my life. We're a couple of old white people voting happily for Obama. We pray for his safety. Keep blogging, Grandmere.

  19. It is so refreshing and heartening to see that there are some Canjuns for Obama down on bayou Lafourche, where I grew up. From afar, I saw your blog posting and just had to write to express solidarity with you. Go for it!

  20. Greetings Mimi!

    I'm here from Huff Post, having loved your interview and wishing to learn more about your blogs.

    My choosing Obama happened much in the same way as it did for you.

    And as I've studied him he continues to impress me.

    I think we've hit Gold here with him and I pray the elections are not stolen.

    God bless & keep up the great work!

  21. I agree that we femmes d'un certain age need to make a place for ourselves on the internet.

    My Canadian visitors seem to want Bush gone as much as many of us in the US.

    A Cajun in Tasmania! You're a first for this blog.

    Janet, thank you for your thoughtful explanation of undecided voters. We will have to live together in this country after the election, and there has been too much mudslinging. I must say that, in this case I agree that McCain seems to me to have taken a much lower road than Obama.

    I think, honestly, some people are prejudiced against voting for an african-american.

    I know that to be true, because some folks around here say it right out, "I'm not voting for a n****r."

    Welcome from France. I have a number of French ancestors, both from France and by way of Canada.

    I love the tales of lifelong Republicans voting for Obama

    Tom, I pray that we will make history in this election. The reason for the large numbers of early voters is because many are thrilled to participate in making history. Others see Obama's election as Armageddon, so I suppose they will turn out, too.

    Another Cajun for Obama! Yay!

    Thank you all for visiting a leaving your comments.

  22. Congrats, Grandmere Mimi, on all this well-deserved attention!


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