Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Obama let me down this week

I've said before that I'm an Obama supporter, however, I'm a little displeased with him and his campaign this week/last week (I'm a bit behind).

First up, at an Obama rally in Detroit, two women in head scarves weren't allowed to sit directly behind Obama - more importantly, directly in line of television cameras. Two different campaign workers said it wasn't good for the current political climate and and the other said no one was allowed with hats, even though photos of the event prove otherwise.

One of the woman, Hebba Aref, said, "I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to."

Obama later apologized to both women, but not before MN Rep. Keith Ellison told Obama that refusing to allow the women to sit in view of TV cameras was disappointing and the action didn't reflect the openness and inclusion his campaign promotes. Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to US Congress (woot woot MN 5th district!). As much as Obama says he's not Muslim, there's a risidual feeling from all the denials that implies being Muslim is bad, when it's clearly not.

When Ellison confronted Obama about it, Obama listened and then called the women to apologize. Jeff Fecke at Shakesville explains why it's so important that Ellison brought up the issue with Obama, and also why it's so important that Obama listened to the criticism and did something about it.

So for me, while the situation is disappointing, it is refreshing to see constructive criticism offered and taken.

Next, (and there's no reedeming silver lining on this one), Obama has stated he supports the Foreign Intelligence Security Act that provides retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies who broke the law by wiretapping US citizens.

Seriously? I'm super disappointed about this and I'm writing letters to make sure Obama knows I'm pissed. What happened to "I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty." Oh wait, that was the primaries.

Now, Obama said, "Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor the program." I'm sorry, but after the past 7 years of empty promises to protect our rights and liberty, I'm a little wary of you "monitoring" it to make sure it's not infringing on citizen rights.

Write to Obama here and tell him that America contains Muslims and that we're not going to stand for retroactive immunity in FISA.


The Great American said...

I'm fairly certain Obama doesn't risk losing the Muslim vote. And even if he did, it would make no difference in the race, whether he won or lost considering the Muslim vote is very minute.

And the ol' election mantra: In the primaries, play to base. in the general, play to the center.

And the whole government listening in on your phone calls thing is pure paranoia. If there is an American citizen in cahoots with terrorists, I don't care if the gov't violates their rights by monitoring them. Do you?

Lindsay said...

I don't think there's such a thing as "the Muslim vote" just like there's no "woman vote" or "Black vote" or "6 feet tall and over vote." Writing off the candidate preference an entire group of people based on religion disregards the wide variety of issues that concern people.

Second, I do care if the government violates the rights of American citizens, terrorist or not. We're citizens first and as citizens of this country, we're guaranteed rights and one of those rights happens to be the right to privacy. So, yeah, I do have a HUGE problem with the government wiretapping phones without warrants and I also have a HUGE problem with enacting legislation which doesn't punish companies that knowingly broke the law when the government asked them to. The government, even the Bush administration, isn't above the laws of this country. You'd think since they're the ones writing the laws, that they can at least live by them.

Anonymous said...

Obama has apologised profusely for this... I think it's sad news, but apparently he wasn't the one organising where everyone had to sit - that was some other kind of 'floor organising' guy who made sure they couldn't sit there, before Obama even came in. They have floor organisers for some TV audiences, so they decide where everyone can sit. If it's a cheesy live music show, for example, like 'Top of the pops' they decide who looks best and they get to go at the front. If you're unattractive or they don't like what you're wearing, you go at the back.