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What The Hell Do I Know?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Posted in: American Politics, Barack Obama

This is an excerpt from a post that I wrote on October 17th 2007:

…Obama was described as a man before his time, and others lamented that America had not yet reached the stage, where a black man could run for presidency, and have a realistic shot at winning it. A sentiment shared by a cyber pal who I spoke to recently.

I liked Obama, I really did. I mean what’s not to like? He’s handsome, (don’t tell me that doesn’t make a difference to somebody somewhere) he’s well turned out, and he knows how to give a rousing speech. He struck me as somebody I could sit down with, and have a really good chin-wag.

The problem for Obama as far as I can tell though, seems to be that the black folks think he’s not black enough, and the white folks think he’s too black. Poor sod, he’s got no effing chance. Maybe in a hundred years time he may have had a shot.

I honestly can’t believe that this has happened in my life time.

How about that speech huh? I cried buckets. Not least because it meant that moose-hunting wouldn’t take off in the rest of America.

41 Comments »


  • AngelaLow
    November 5
    7:38 am

    Karen,
    As a white woman in America I am happy to see this day.
    And happy to say I voted for Obama.
    God Bless America!!!!!

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  • Now we work. Now we heal. Yes!!!!

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  • SusanL
    November 5
    7:45 am

    I was crying, too. I couldn’t let myself believe it until it happened. I truly believe this is the best thing that could happen to my country.

    I hope this will draw more people from all walks of life into politics. We could finally see an actual cross-section of America reflected in our government and I cannot wait.

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  • Marianne McA
    November 5
    9:51 am

    Was a great speech – and to be fair, I thought McCain’s speech was very moving as well.
    Did you stay up? I considered it, but wimped out. I got up at 4.00, which was great timing, because I got to see both the speeches. (And the BBC interviewing Gore Vidal: either I was really tired, or he is the most peculiar man.)

    Still feels a bit unreal: I think it’s because Obama so much looks the part – if you were casting an actor in the role of charismatic young American President, you couldn’t find someone who looks more the part that he does – in himself, in the way he interacts with his wife, with his completely adorable children. (And a puppy!)
    If tomorrow he single-handedly saved the world from an alien invasion, it would seem quite plausible.

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  • Dawn
    November 5
    10:30 am

    I’m thrilled he won. Now, of course, (well, in January) the hard work begins.

    It’s definitely not, as I heard some people say “the end of the racial divide”, but hey it’s a hell of great start.

    I just hope that now he’s not made the target I think he’s going to be.

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  • Dorothy Mantooth
    November 5
    10:44 am

    Yes, funny how Americans turned out to not be the stupid racists so many people insist we are, isn’t it?

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  • Emmy
    November 5
    11:35 am

    I don’t think any of us black peepo thought we’d ever see the day when one of us got elected President in our lifetimes. It was only a few decades ago that we were fighting to go to the same schools and sit in the front of the bus.

    As a black woman in Hawaii whose son goes to the same school Obama did, I couldn’t be happier.

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  • sallahdog
    November 5
    1:17 pm

    the point has been being made on many talk shows last evening that even with all the USAs problems and history that we are the only country where a minority could be elected president…

    I don’t know if that was purely partisan bs, but I want to ask Karen and others who don’t live in the US, do you think a black man could be elected prime minister or president in Great Britain or France or Germany (or any other western country)?

    I am personally happy, but concerned….The problems we have are so big that no one is going to be able to fix them quickly… I worry that the expectations of Obama are too high… I wonder if in a few years that McCain will be happy he lost and Obama will be sad he won…

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  • It was definitely an exciting night. No matter who one voted for you have to admit, this man is something special. And someone like this only comes along once in a generation. If he can’t heal this country, I don’t who can.

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  • I haven’t watched anything on TV in the past day. I’ve kept up with things online-I much prefer to get my news that way any more. No commercials. 😉

    Might try to watch both of their speeches later. Might. Maybe. I’m so very tired of politics.

    However, I do have to say it was just flat-out awesome how many people voted. So many young people, too. Very, very excellent.

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  • karen Scott
    November 5
    1:37 pm

    SD,I think many blacks would be sceptical, but I truly believe that this would be possible even here in England. The key for me would be getting the right person, who could appeal to both whites and blacks.

    Unfortunately, we still don’t even have anybody of note within the two main political parties to ease the way.

    You guys at least already had Condi Rice, and Colin Powell.

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  • The problems we have are so big that no one is going to be able to fix them quickly…

    Sallahdog, I don’t think a quick fix is possible. One of the biggest problems, and concerns, for many is the economy and frankly, this problem is one I think has been coming for a long time, a lot longer than Bush’s term.

    Twelve years ago, I was just out of nursing school, broker than broke and credit companies were already trying to woo me with more credit than I could ever pay back. I was smart–or rather, my husband was. He has a head for money (I don’t-I prefer words over numbers). He made sure we were careful. We were okay. Others, not so much.

    People wanting and getting more than they can afford, the greed of multi-million dollar banks and credit companies, rich companies trying to gouge the American public for every last penny they can are what led to the economic issues. It started before Bush came around. It took us a while to get it here and it’s going to take a while to get out.

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  • Dawn
    November 5
    2:02 pm

    Karen I was going to say exactly the same thing. There was an article in the paper yesterday about this.

    America, with all it’s race problems (albeit bubbling under the surface) has blacks in prominent positions politically and socially.

    I haven’t seen this in the UK, and certainly of any of the few blacks in public office at the moment, none of them are high profile enough to even be considered for PM.

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  • I don’t know if that was purely partisan bs, but I want to ask Karen and others who don’t live in the US, do you think a black man could be elected prime minister or president in Great Britain or France or Germany (or any other western country)?

    I don’t see why not. After all in the UK we’ve already had Disraeli (“(born Benjamin D’Israeli; 21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881), was a British Conservative statesman and literary figure. He served in government for three decades, twice as Prime Minister. An Anglican, he was nonetheless the first and thus far only Prime Minister of Jewish heritage” (Wikipedia)) and Thatcher (first UK female prime minister). One procedural point to note, though, is that in the UK we don’t vote directly for the Prime Minister.

    Demographics may contribute something to the situation: “In England and Wales, 1.1 per cent of people are Black Caribbean, 0.9 per cent are Black African and a further 0.2 per cent are from Other Black groups.” (2001 census statistics). 1.8% of the English and Welsh population is of Indian origin, 1.3% of Pakistani origin, and 0.5% of Bangladeshi origin (more 2001 census statistics). The website for the High Commission of India observes that

    Of Britain’s population of 59.8 million, the population of Indian origin is estimated to be around 1.5 million, accounting for the single largest segment of ethnic population. Over 40% of them live in inner and outer London. Outside London, Indian community is mainly concentrated in West and East Midlands, Leicester and Greater Manchester. […] The present Parliament has 6 MPs of Indian origin [Parmjit Dhanda, Virendra Sharma, Dr Ashok Kumar, Marsha Singh, Keith Vaz (all Lab.) and Shailesh Vara (Cons.)] in the House of Commons and 19 peers in the House of Lords [Shriti Vadera, Raj Bagri, Amirali Bhatia, Narendra Babubhai Patel, Meghnad Desai, Navnit Dholakia, Shreela Flather, Tarsem King, Bhikhu Parekh, Adam Patel, Swraj Paul, Usha Prashar, Diljit Rana, Kumar Bhattacharya, Kamlesh Patel, Karan Bilimoria, Sandip Verma, Mohamed Sheikh, Khalid Hameed].

    Re black politicians, there’s Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal: “Appointed as Attorney General by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on 28th June 2007, the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland QC is the first female and ethnic minority person to hold the post” (from here). There’s also Paul Boateng, who “became the UK’s first black Cabinet minister in May 2002 when he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent South from 1987 to 2005, and is the current British High Commissioner to South Africa” (Wikipedia). Dianne Abbott “was the first black woman to be elected to the House of Commons when she was elected in the 1987 General Election. She remained the only black woman MP for ten years until she was joined in the Commons by Oona King in 1997” (Wikipedia).

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  • I was glued to the television yesterday from the afternoon until the last moment when Obama left the stage after his speech.

    America made history yesterday and I was damn proud to be part of it. I didn’t want to miss a moment of it.

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  • Stephi
    November 5
    3:22 pm

    I’m white. I never voted before this election. It always seemed pointless. I registered to vote just to vote for Obama. For me, race had nothing to do with it. He is the best man for the job.

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  • emdee
    November 5
    3:40 pm

    As one of your older and white readers, I remember seeing MLK’s I Have A Dream speech live on TV. That this could have happened in my lifetime just blows me away. And that it was called so early and didn’t take a week or judicial intervention! It was one of those historic days you rarely see. I live in TX, and the people I live with have friends who now think that someone will knock on their door in the middle of the night and take their precious guns. Do they not understand the Constitution? I wonder sometimes if they drank the koolaid…

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  • I voted for President-Elect Obama in the NH Primary and again yesterday simple because I shared more of his opinions on the issues important to me than McCain’s. But it also felt pretty good last night, knowing my family had a part in such an awesome historical event.

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  • queenbeetrainer
    November 5
    4:20 pm

    I didn’t vote for Obama, but no matter what your politics it was truly a great day for our country.

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  • My mom says she cried through the speech, thinking about how much my Dad would have wanted to have been here to see this. I wish he could have, too.

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  • I was very involved in this campaign, and more invested in this election than any other I’ve been able to vote in (a grand total of three now!). I did grass roots work, registered people to vote, etc. I got to see Obama speak at a rally in September. Yesterday felt like Christmas.

    My friends and I made a day of it.

    First, we volunteered at the polls.

    Then, we grilled.

    Then we drank, and watched.

    Then we set off fireworks.

    We all cried through his speech.

    We set off more fireworks.

    It was an awesome, amazing day. Like you, Karen, I’d hardly dared to hope it would turn out like this, and it’s almost overwhelming to think on it now. Yes we can, yes we did!

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  • Michelle
    November 5
    6:41 pm

    I feel we were on a cliff’s edge and through a miracle have been pulled back, and now there is hope for our country, our environment and our relationships with other governments. It is so wonderful after a miserable 8 years to listen to someone intelligent, articulate who believes in science and education and human dignity. I was almost giddy this morning at work.

    They are such a beautiful family, and the puppy bit was great.

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  • Pure Wabash
    November 5
    6:51 pm

    I was giggling to see that Massachusetts was a sweep for Obama. McCain won NOTHING there!

    I voted for Obama, had a party here last night, and cried during the speech. History was made last night, and hopefully now everything changes for the better…

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  • When I saw Ohio go Democrat and relatively early in the evening. That was it. It was so over.

    The Republican celebration was suddenly silent.

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  • Anon76
    November 5
    10:33 pm

    As an Ohio resident, I was hoping that others held the same sentiment as I did. I am more than pleased that they did.

    Granted, this new president is faced with a myriad of problems to deal with (and perhaps more than most of the others), but isn’t that the normal way of it? No new president ever gets a pat hand. If they can manage to do even a minor portion of their goals, I consider them winners.

    And as to giving hope to our nation’s children? This is a huge step. So many children of mixed backgrounds now see a possibility never before realized. Mom can be this, dad can be this, grandma and grandpa’s can be whatever, but none of that matters. What matters is the individual you become.

    Again, I’m thrilled at the outcome of this election. I think McCain is a wonderful man, but he lost me on the last debate.

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  • The Republicans took Ohio and a lot of other states for granted. They probably should have checked with them for what the platform should have been about instead of assuming.

    If they went socially liberal but financially conservative it might fix a few things but they would have to jettison the Religious Right.

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  • […] Scott’s latest blog was on the election of US President nominee, Barack Obama, to the post. And it prompted a comment […]


  • I wish my dad had lived to see this too, Jody. He would’ve been amazed and very pleased. Both my parents grew up in the segregated South and were always out of step with their racist friends and family. Wherever Dad is, I think he is smiling that things are heading in a new and more positive direction.

    My husband, my mom, my sister, and I did volunteer work this year for the Obama campaign, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience.

    I believe good things are about to happen. 🙂

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  • I was overwhelmed.
    Still am. Trying to convince myself it really happened.

    The impact of it all wasn’t ONLY due to seeing a black/biracial man win the seat, or a cancerous administration tossed aside.
    Looking at the hope on the faces of those people who’d gathered in the crowd and elsewhere…that brought the emotion out in me. Haven’t seen that in a very, very long time.
    May God bless and the Secret Service keep him.

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  • Throwmearope
    November 6
    4:00 am

    I had the misfortune to live in Louisiana for about a year when I was a kid. It was 1966. 12 years after Brown vs the Board of Education. My home state of Colorado had forced busing to correct inequalities in the “separate but equal” schooling.

    But when we lived in Lousy-anna (as I thought of it), I was bused 8 (count em eight) miles to the white school. The black school was across the street from our apartment, I was cool with going there, my school in Colorado was about 2/3 Hispanic and it made no difference to me. But, no I had to be bused to the white school. I asked my teacher if any of them had ever heard of Brown and she suddenly developed acute deafness.

    And in the 42 years since my time in New Orleans, our country has gone from crap like segregated schools to my man Obamarama being the POTUS. W00T!!!

    Anyone who doesn’t see the progress needs to look back to the past.

    Edited to correct poor spelling.

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  • I’ve been off-line because of computer problems, which are now fixed. As for President-Elect Obama:

    HALLELUJAH

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  • You know, I almost wish he wasn’t black. Because now, if he slips up, there are going to be people out there who will insist it’s because he’s black. Or that voters elected him only because he was black, to prove they aren’t racist. Every time someone mentions the fact that he’s black, I cringe.

    He won because he’s a good speaker, he’s charismatic, he’s got some good ideas and a gift for inspiring people. And yeah, I guess the fact that he’s black might have had something to do with it, too.

    There are people out there celebrating this day because of the milestone it represents–a black man in the White House. And yeah, it’s a milestone worth celebrating. Me, I’m holding out for the day a black man in the White House is no longer a remarkable thing. Who knows, it might even happen in my lifetime…

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  • I see it as a great thing that a black man won the White House. It’s a step forward in our perception of race. However, even me being a white man (the majority of majority), we got a long way to go.

    But I was celebrating his victory. And not because he is black. For crying out loud, he could have been a green-skinned, four-armed, three-eyed alien born on US soil for all I cared. I strongly feel that he is the right person for the job. It isn’t going to be easy. I don’t expect him to be able to do all he wants. It would have been the same for McCain. Our country is in crisis, and anyone that thinks any of Obama’s future failures are because he’s black are just plain f***ing stupid! He is one of the most intelligent, straight thinking, eloquent politicians I have ever seen/heard. And again, that’s come from his brain and his heart. Not his skin.

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  • Nora Roberts
    November 6
    12:56 pm

    Now that I’ve saved the world by the power of my will and constant refreshing of a multitude of poll sites, I can relax again. What an amazing day.

    It’s good to be back.

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  • Karen Scott
    November 6
    6:45 pm

    Scott, I couldn’t agree more.

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  • Trying again…

    Welcome back, Nora!

    Scott, I agree–it will be difficult, but it would have been difficult no matter who got elected, the situation is too effed up for it to be anything but difficult.

    I am hopeful, though, that because Obama is who he is, it will be less difficult and take a bit less time than it would have otherwise.

    May Obama stay true, stay strong and stay safe.

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  • I’ve spent the last months volunteering for the campaign, and the last week and a half have been grueling. But so inspiring. My feeling is that this is not so much about race but about people coming together to elect the best candidate for the job. I can’t tell you how many amazing people I’ve met of all races, socio-economic backgrounds, ages and even political parties. Here in a red corner of Virginia, it wasn’t easy but very rewarding. I’m so proud of the positive, upbeat campaign we ran, and I have made friends for a lifetime.

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  • Jenns
    November 6
    11:53 pm

    I’m so relieved and so happy at the outcome, and I’m proud to have voted for Obama.
    What an incredible night and what an incredible moment in history!

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  • Ebony
    November 7
    1:03 am

    I will never forget tuesday night. To hear Barack Obama was going to be our next president brought tears to my eyes. I still get emotional when I see a clip from his speech. Karen, like you, I didn’t think it would happen–not in my lifetime. I’m so glad I was wrong and that I lived to see this day. So many of our ancestors died and sweated for this day. It’s a new era and I’m just blessed to witness it.

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  • Ebony
    November 7
    1:15 am

    “He is one of the most intelligent, straight thinking, eloquent politicians I have ever seen/heard. And again, that’s come from his brain and his heart. Not his skin.”

    Scott and that’s what Dr. King was talking about in 1963…Pres. elect Obama was judged by his character not the color of his skin.

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  • BEST. DAY. EVER!!! (So far, LOL)

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