Obama, Ethics Reform, And White Dems

This has been Obama's first major undertaking in the US Senate, this ethics reform business. His fellow Dems prodded him to that end. Take the lead, Barack. And he did. He made an attempt at bipartisanship that got a little complicated. McCain thanked Obama for disabusing him of some illusion, Obama called him "cranky." Then they went back to getting along.

People notice both Obama and Hillary are oustandingly talented people. And they think it is individual achievement. I don't think so. I think it is about race and gender. Because it is so hard for the Obamas and the Hillaries of the world to break up the glass ceilings, only the very best make it into the white male bastions like the US Senate. No wonder they are so outstanding.

I call it the vertical degrees of separation thing. When someone sees me for the first time without knowing nothing about me, that person sees an Indian. And all these images of India flood in that person's mind. For some it is exotic, or things they know or don't know about India, or Indians they have met, known, befriended, read about, to others it is a quick trip to stereotypeland, or their slip into their blind spots on India. And then you say hello, make small talk, the first few sentences are probably about India. Are you from India? I was born in India. And the fog slowly lifts, and you move on to the personal level. You move from the collective to the individual. This is in a casual setting.

Then there is the question of valency, bonding. Say you are in a room with 99 other people that are representative of America, both in terms of race and gender. Nobody knows noone else. And you are locked up for an hour. Who will you gravitate towards? Your valency for people who might share your race and gender might be larger than for those not so.

And then bring in the vertical degrees of separation thingie. Your immediate social circle is level 1. (A Few Diagrams)
Say for Obama the US Senate if floor 4, and the White House floor 5. Unless at least 51% of the American electorate coalesces around Obama for the fifth floor, he is not getting there. That coalescing might be meritocratic. Down the line Obama might successfully sell himself as the person best prepared to take care of your interests. Or it could be a coalescing of people who are actually open minded on race enough to see Obama for who he is and what he has to offer. It might even be a coalescing of people who get to cleanse themselves of their sins from their racist pasts by coming around Obama.

Martin Luther King confronted physical segregation. Obama confronts social segregation, and glass walls and ceilings. So far it is looking good, actually great.

How would you like to barack your world? (Take It Back: Film) So when finally Obama runs for the top job, it will be as much about Obama as America.

In The News

Senate Considers Independent Ethics Office Houston Chronicle, United States
Update 2: Senate Panel Rejects Ethics Office Forbes
Senate Considers Independent Ethics Office Houston Chronicle, United States
2 Top Senators Seek an Agency Policing Ethics at the Capitol New York Times, United States
Lobby reform off to tepid start Monsters and Critics.com, UK
Senate panel moves to lessen lobbyists' role San Francisco Chronicle, USA
Senate panel approves of more disclosure on travel, earmarks Seattle Times, United States
Attempt to eliminate medical coverage stalls Salt Lake Tribune, United States
Panel Calls for Greater Disclosure From Senators Over Lobbying Los Angeles Times, CA
States Offer Grim Look at Curbing Corruption Los Angeles Times, CA
Congress needs bold steps Robertson County Times, TN

Obama takes on ethics reform, and Democrats are watching San Jose Mercury News, USA
Senators take steps toward agreement on ethics reform Chicago Tribune, United States
Illinois lawmakers say 'bribe menu' may fuel reform Peoria Journal Star, IL
A Day After Harsh Letter, McCain and Obama Enjoy Civil Phone Call Los Angeles Times, CA
Prelims: Obama, McCain et al take steps towards lobbying pact Chicago Sun-Times, United States
McCain: Obama is partisan in approach to lobby reform Quad City Times, IA

On The Web

Obama for Illinois
Barack Obama - US Senator for Illinois
Barack Obama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Profile: Barack Obama


28 February18:29ONPT, Morocco
28 February18:59CTX Mortgage Company, Dallas, United States
28 February21:02The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
28 February22:27Sympatico HSE, Canada
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1 March01:59ENTEL, Chile
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2 March08:52Sify Limited, India

Christian Terrorists

He lamented the negative stereotyping of Muslims and wondered why North Ireland's Protestants and Catholics, the Oklahoma City bombers or even the Nazis had never been labeled "Christian terrorists."

"Look at the Ku Klux Klan, who use a cross as their symbol and propagate hatred against others and encourage lynching. And yet we never hear someone say, 'There's an example of how Christianity encourages violence,'" Tutu said.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu speaks with authority when he does, and he has made a valid point here. Arab origin people in the West have faced prejudice, discrimination and racism for long. The violent activities of the Al Qaeda did not invent that racism which existed before and after. If those racists blame the Arab masses for the acts of a handful of Al Qaeda terrorists, they are simply expressing the racism they have felt for as long as they remember. Racism is democracy not delivering. There is as much a need to spread democracy in the West as in the Arab world, and so there two very clear fronts on the so called War On Terror, there is also the important homefront. For those who experience racism, democracy is lacking.

The Jyllands Posten Muhammad Cartoons Controversy
Pat Robertson Is Sick, Anti-Faith

Desmond Tutu speaks truth to power.

Tutu: Muslim anger not just about cartoons San Jose Mercury News, USA
'Liberal like Jesus' Orlando Sentinel, FL


Anonymous said…
I like that you speak the truth but when will Osama play the same card that everyone has in Congress.. See Nothing, Do nothing and get re-elected and ride of nothingness.