The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Busy Busy...

Bouncing around from one project to another requires that I stay seriously centered, and the last couple of months there's been too much movement. I can feel it. What I want now, for the rest of the year, is to travel as little as possible, spend as much time with my family as possible, get back into a regular martial arts training schedule, and just work for a while. It isn't always possible to maintain balance, but you try to recognize when you've lost it, and ease back into it as soon as possible...
Hillary knocked it out of the park last night. Oddly enough, she seemed more focused and relaxed and powerful than I ever saw her on her campaign. Reminds me a little bit of Al he seemed so much more presidential as soon as he wasn't running for President. Odd.
Apparently 5% of white voters say they wouldn't vote for a black man...but 18% of voters say that they have friends saying that. I suppose both of those numbers could be true. I'd estimate that about 10% of people have "very strong" racial feelings, but maybe only half of those would make race a determining factor in their vote. One thing is for certain: there are plenty of people looking for an excuse not to vote for Obama (and even more who have legitimate ideological reasons, of course). It's always interesting to see how people justify their prejudices. But you have to give folks the benefit of the doubt...don't you? Maybe not. Much more fun that way.


Anonymous said...

I listened to the first 20 minutes of Michelle Obama's speech and I listened to Hilary's until she got to the part about the single, bald headed woman with cancer and two adopted children. In each case, I gave up because I said to myself this is why I am a Republican, neither one talked about ordinary middle class people and their concerns, only they dragged out those in truly dire straits and said that's who we have to help. Its not that I don't agree these people need help, I just think that they should be talking about the problems of the typical American facing high gas prices and disappearing middle class manufacturing jobs.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve;

Just curious; What do you think of Obama's treatment (complete indifference, more or less) to his half brother in Kenya?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how anyone knows
that Obama's rteatment of his brother
is indifference?

not everyone lives the way we do here
(ha not even here0
and not everyone wants to

Anonymous said...

"No-one knows who I am," he told the magazine, before claiming: "I live here on less than a dollar a month."

Of their second meeting, George Obama said: "It was very brief, we spoke for just a few minutes. It was like meeting a complete stranger."

George added he was no longer in contact with his mother and said:"I have had to learn to live and take what I need.

"Huruma is a tough place, last January during the elections there was rioting and six people were hacked to death. The police don't even arrest you they just shoot you.

"I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists."

Anonymous said...

obviously they ARE strangers.
and he's a half-brother, yes?

sometimes blood relationship
doesn't mean anything

as is definitely the case
between me and my brother,
who decades past when we were
in communication treated me
extremely poorly;
aand then again stiffed me
over my parent's estate

Anonymous said...

Just as some people are looking for an excuse not to vote for Sen. Obama, there are others looking for an excuse to vote for him. My gut feeling is that there are more people looking for excuses to vote for him than there are people looking for excuses not to vote for him. The country will get the President it deserves come November.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,
Hillary speech - I would guess that she has relaxed, the pressure is off; this campaign is on its way with or without her. She's being a good soldier, doing her duty for the party. And, that speech was her opening the 2012 campaign.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" said neither talked about ordinary "middle class" people ... I guess there but for the grace of god go you.

I know plenty of "oridinary middle class people struggling to make similar ends meet - people from military backgrounds, like the young man Hilary spoke of, people left devastated financially due to illness, like the woman with the two adopted children. It happens in "nice middle class neighborhoods" too. All the time.

I think she spoke eloquently about the needs of ordinary Americans - and she chose some good examples.

The fact that "anonymous" chose to stop listening so early says it all, really.

I, for one, was delighted to hear people proud to be smart, thoughtful and aware on stage last night. I have missed that in political discourse for the past several years.

Unknown said...

Those statistics sound to me as if people are more willing to tell their friends that they aren't willing to vote for a black man, than they are willing to tell the pollsters directly.

Which, is probably true.

But it's also possible that people are over reporting it about people they know, based upon assumptions, not actual knowing the real opinions. I am not surprised that people are more willing to believe ill of others, or might be willing to assign that reluctance to vote for a black person on "others" especially when there's no way it could be verified.

My guess, is split that difference, and you'll probably come close to the truth. (Which would put it at about 11.5%)

Of course, how many of those people would be voting against the democratic candidate, regardless of who that candidate was? Probably at least half, if not closer to 2/3rds. Which means to me, that the number isn't all that significant in terms of this election. (Though that doesn't mean the idea has no significance at all.)

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Hilary might have been more relaxed and powerful because she's now in a situation where the right thing to do is obvious. She isn't distracted by worrying about whether she's using the right strategy.

As for 5% saying they wouldn't vote for a black man but 18% saying they know someone who wouldn't, this doesn't sound surprising. There are more people who know someone with blue eyes than there are people with blue eyes.

I'm almost surprised that if 5% won't vote for a black man, it's as low as 18% who know such a person. Does it suggest that people who admit to strongly racist voting only average 3 1/2 people who know them that well?

That racists and non-racists tend to be socially in separate clumps?

Is there a statistician in the house?

Marty S said...

Stephanie: I know very well that these kinds of things happen in "nice middle class neighborhoods". My niece is one of those people. She has a daughter who is both mentally and physically challenged due to problems at birth and a son who is a juvenile diabetic and on insulin since he was four. Her husband works two jobs to keep them afloat. They are still a small percentage of the population. There are many more people with more ordinary problems that need addressing. I didn't here much about those people from Michelle Obama and so when Hillary started off again that way I just lost patients.

Steven Barnes said...

I don't know that Obama's attitude is one of indifference. If it were, I would be disappointed. The fact that the half-brother reported it as such is interesting...but tell me I couldn't talk to some your relatives and not get some negative stuff. Could have been subtle blackmail. On the other hand, might have been the result of simply not knowing him--the guy might have asked for money, while Barack offered him help finding a job. People often interpret this as "not helping." Without a report from both sides, I just can't say.
Don't believe that there are more people looking for a reason to vote for Barack than there are those looking not to. Just doesn't match American history, or any human psychology I know of. But it does match a need to believe that he has some kind of advantage due to his ethnicity, which I find slightly troubling. After all, if there is some kind of advantage in being black, and by almost every metric black people are lagging, how could one rationalize both being true unless blacks just don't have what it takes? After all, they have these "advantages", right? There is no evidence of such an advantage in the stats on any other elected positions, throughout all American history. And there's that pesky thing about white people not watching theatrical love scenes with non-whites. Until that one changes, I don't believe there's some kind of "advantage" in any way. Hell, the playing field ain't even level.

Steven Barnes said...

Michelle Obama's comments spoke quite a bit about middle class people and their concerns. Virtually the entire thing was about how that was her upbringing, and Barack's upbringing, and how it shaped their perspective. His commitment to helping common people as a community organizer, etc. Very odd and interesting how you managed to miss that.
She HAD to do it, because of the deep hole they are both in due to looking like "others." It's the elephant in the living room. Ignore it and you are refusing to grasp a powerful factor shaping human history.

Steve Perry said...

I thought every major speaker who got up hit a homer, and Barack's was the finishing run.

Happened that my wife and I were on a trip to the coast and came across a brand-new Obama office with a TV set in it just as Barack started his speech. We went in, sat down, along with maybe fifteen other people. Most of them were older than we were.

The paint was still wet on the walls.

All of them applauded during the speech, and we all stood up and did so at the end.

Something is indeed rising. I hope it's consciousness and the realization that there's a better way to go than the last eight years and it isn't with four more years of almost-the-same ...

And that whoever appoints the next three Supreme Court Justices will have an impact far beyond his term in office.

I sure hope Hillary's people understand that.