As Barack Obama says, he stands for “change we can believe in,” a dynamic platform creeping into the rhetoric of many contenders, and notably shared by Republican Mit Romney.
As it turns out, standing for change without committing to much in particular (in public discourse) allows voters to give “change” any meaning they wish, and as evidenced by Obama’s support from groups with markedly different agenda’s (from Republican evangelicals to pro-choice democrats), change has taken on different meanings to different voters.
Though many media outlets, including The New York Post (run by the notorious Rupert Murdoch, recently endorsed Obama) have oft heralded Obama as a new voice for change, his lack of specificity as a candidate is a sentiment which appears in the New York Times’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton, stating “We need more specifics to go with (Obama’s amorphous promise of a new governing majority, a clearer sense of how he would govern.”
Searching Obama’s website in an attempt to clarify his platform, I discovered, and as subsequent debates have proved. There are many similarities between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both share a commitment to lower-and middle-classes, and even fairly similar voting records. Despite Obama’s anti-war-ier than Hillary rhetoric, he appears to have the same voting record (of course, he wasn’t a U.S. Senator when Hill voted ‘yes’).
But there is something that exists between the lines in the drop-down menus which outline where Obama stands on the issues, and this represents a notable difference between the candidates: an articulated commitment to women’s rights.
I was curious to find that Obama’s section on “Education” made no mention of insuring schools offer scientifically-based and age- appropriate sex-education, that his section on
“Family” made no mention of family planning, his section on “Poverty” no mention of working mothers and his section on “Health Care” no mention of reproductive rights: no mention of abortion, birth-control, plan-b or condoms. Women barely even figure in to how Obama stands on “Civil Rights.” Women only warrant a brief mention in his proposed augmenting of the Fair Pay Act.
What he does explicitly define however is the importance of and his commitment to “Faith.” Obama’s elevation of faith and its role in government makes me squeamish given the Church he belongs to (proudly noted in his bio), Trinity United Church of Christ, is known to be aligned with the vehemently anti-abortion Louis Farrakhan (their magazine “The Trumpet” recently published “An empowerment interview with the Honorable Louis Farrakhan), and his affiliation with mega-church moguls Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes. In December 2006, Obama noted that: “Pastor friends of mine like Rick Warren and TD Jakes are wielding their enormous influences to confront AIDS…”. He doesn’t mention their support hinges on abstinence only programs and a skewed vision of science, and that they are also wielding their enormous influences against women’s reproductive rights.
Obama notes in markedly biblical tones that “Government alone cannot solve all our problems; we have an individual responsibility to be our brothers and our sisters keepers.” He fails to address how he will curb the efforts of Supreme Court Justices who are attempting to amend the constitution to outlaw abortion on the grounds that a fetus appeals to their responsibility to be their brothers and sisters keepers?
Aren’t reproductive rights, which have been systematically attacked by the current administration, and the Evangelicals Obama has aligned himself with, “Civil Rights”?