When I talked for a bit about the Obama campaign and the Rev. Wright issue in my last post, I genuinely thought people wouldn't let that crap influence their vote. I gave the American people enough credit that I thought they would make the issues the important part of the vote: not race, not gender, and especially not Rev. Wright.

But I guess I was wrong.

I was excited that North Carolina was getting so behind a black candidate for president. It would be a landmark election if the Old North State voted for a black man to represent the Democratic party. I thought that it was a sign that racism, while not totally gone, was starting to fade and that people weren't as concerned with skin color. The optimist part of me still wants to believe that, but I'm troubled by an article I woke up to this morning from the News & Observer.

It makes me feel like everything I said in the last post and every positive thing I thought about the progressiveness of NC is wrong. Why aren't people willing to support Obama?

Obama "doesn't have the experience and gravitas for this day and time," Gilliam said.
"I don't know where he will fall on issues," she said. With Sen. John McCain, the certain Republican nominee, "at least I know."

OK, at least this is a legitimate argument, even though I don't agree with it. But Gilliam is worried about the issues. I'm really not sure how you don't know where Obama will fall with the issues. Sure, he may not have as deep of a political record to look back at, but just listen to one of his speeches. He says exactly where he stands on the major issues, and exactly what he wants to do about them when he gets into office. Pay a little bit more attention and see if you can't find it.

So what else is troubling NC democratic voters about Obama?

Greg Gallagher, 52, a construction worker who lives in Pamlico County, was so uncomfortable hearing about Obama's pastor that he worries about the candidate himself.

"The more I know, the less I like him," said Gallagher, who is white. "You listen to this guy -- it's not going to pull people together. It'll break them apart."

"I once thought he could change the country," said Adams.

But he has lost some faith in Obama now, wondering how the man could sit for 20 years in Wright's pews. Adams will vote for Clinton in the primary.

Oh no, here we go with the infamous Rev. Wright. Let's just say that the reverend is a little crazy and is making too much of his 15 minutes of fame. I doubt that he screamed that stuff out from the pulpit when Obama was sitting attentively in Wright's pews. If you know anything about Obama, I don't see how you can assume that he might have the same beliefs as the crazy reverend. I think we can blame Wright's comments on one of two things: 1) he has always had these crazy ideas, and now that he gets national press coverage, he's going to use this time to throw out these ideas and let America hear what he has to say, or 2) he is angry about Obama distancing himself from the reverend after the first comments came out, so he is intentionally trying to hurt Obama's campaign by saying more outrageous stuff.

Either way, is this really what we want to base our presidency on? It especially bothers me that Adams was an Obama suppporter and the only thing that has moved him to Clinton is Rev. Wright. There's so much more to Obama than his skin color and his pastor. As an educated people we have to be able to look past that and look at what the issues really are. Stop listening to the pundits on CNN about how much this means to the campaign and how important it is. The only reason it is important is because people make it important, and they make it a much bigger issue than it needs to be. The big issue should be what the candidate believes in, what he says and what he plans to do in office. Please don't make me completely lose faith in the political process and the people of this country.

Oh, I almost forgot. Obama won't pull people together? OK, there is an issue with a racial divide, and I guess you could make that a bigger issue than it is, but I think Obama has pulled more people together than any other candidate in the race. At the Obama rally in Chapel Hill, there were so many different types of people there to support him. I'm pretty sure I could find someone from every demographic in those powder-blue seats. His message of hope and change has united people and made people care about politics. Volunteers come out in droves to make phone calls, donations and knock on every door they can find. Not a day goes by that I don't get a phone call about voting for Obama. Seeing the way citizens have come out for this man, I simply can't believe that he will divide people on a large scale.

So if it's not race, experience or a loud-mouthed reverend that's keeping North Carolinians from filling in the little black circle beside Obama's name, what else could it possibly be?
Like Gallagher, she would vote for McCain or not at all before casting a ballot for Obama. She said he has too little experience, and she doesn't think he's willing to pledge allegiance to the flag.
"That is huge to me," she said.
The flag pin thing again? Seriously? Do you really think a man that didn't love America would run for president, work his ass off for 15 months traveling all around the country and talking to thousands and thousands of people? It's absurd. So he doesn't wear an American flag on the lapel of his jacket. Big deal. Before the Obama rally, the whole Dean Dome was led in the Pledge of Allegiance. As noted in the article, Obama himself has led the Senate in the reciting of the pledge. He is willing to pledge allegiance to the flag, and -- not to sound too gimmicky -- he is willing to pledge allegiance to the American people. That should not be the decisive issue when it comes time to vote.

This article obviously disheartened me, and I'm really hoping that the people that were quoted in it are the minority in NC. I would hate to see these little issues turn the state to Clinton. Like I said in the last post, we can't miss this opportunity to do something big for American politics. It scares me that people, Democrats, that is, will vote for John McCain if Obama wins the primary. That makes no sense. Democrats have to realize that a change is needed, and that either candidate would be better than McCain. I would vote for Clinton before the Republican Party. The last thing we need after these eight frustrating years is to put an old Bush crony into the White House for another four years.

Please, America and North Carolina, restore my faith in you and make this election about the issues that matter. If you're not going to vote for Obama, give me a legitimate reason. That's all I ask. Be smart when you go to the polls.


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