Sunday, January 27, 2008

Coming out for a candidate

A disclosure. I fell for Barack Obama pretty early. I first read about him in the New Yorker in May of 2004, when he was running for Senate. (For those who, like me, have received "The Complete New Yorker" on DVD - a much appreciated but sadly underused Christmas gift - it's the May 31st issue, page 32.) I'm the son of an immigrant father and an American mother. I'm someone who tends to buy into grandiose, if vaguely defined and sort of naive, ideas about how the greatest thing about the U.S. is the fact that we're a nation of immigrants. I'm a sucker for "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breath free". I'm also a sucker for the idea of being able to find a common humanity in everyone, regardless of background, something that struck the reporter, William Finnegan, who wrote the New Yorker piece, about Obama's Senate campaign then and strikes me about his presidential campaign now. (I'm looking over the New Yorker article now for a particular quote that will make my point, but there are too many. The article's a better advertisement for Obama than his campaign website is.)

So, I didn't have far to fall. Obama's father was even from a part of Kenya very close to where I served. Then came the speech at the Democratic convention in 2004, which made me cry. When podcasts came to iTunes, one of the first I subscribed to was his, which was great - sensible, hopeful, modest, direct. (It hasn't been updated since he declared for president.) His Iowa speech choked me up, as did the New Hampshire speech.

I don't know if making some chemistry professor cry for the possibility of what his country could do right (and out of sadness for what it's done wrong) is a sufficient qualification for the presidency, but it's enough for me for now.

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About Me

I'm a biochemist at a small college.