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ecdab's Journal
Posted by ecdab in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Aug 25th 2007, 03:00 PM
I have had several people request that I give my impressions of the time I spent with Barack Obama in 90's. It's really not something that I think is all the useful or likely to produce any results on the internet, but I have decided to do it none the less. I see a good deal of negativity on this site regarding various democratic candidates, and I think that is a shame. the democrats have a bounty of good people running for election in 2008, and I have been lucky enough to have been able to spend time with three of them (three if you count Al Gore, which I guess is a bit of a stretch at this point).

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm actually an Al Gore supporter and have worked for John Edwards in the past as well. They are both wonderful people. I could gush for pages about Al Gore (and will if he jumps into the race) and I have nothing but good things to say about the man that John Edwards is.

That said, Barack Obama is a very special man, and it pains me when I see people posting in a less than thoughtful manner about him. I used to teach at the University of Chicago where Senator Obama lectured on Constitutional law. I actually stopped by and listened to him lecture on several occasions because word had spread among some of the faculty of how brilliant a speaker he was. I was impressed. The young man giving the lecture was dazzling, and did he ever have a passion for the Constitution of the United States of America. I've long believed that one of the greatest failings of our politicians is their lack of understanding of that amazing document. I've also long felt that the education system in this country really lets down our young people by not putting enough emphasis on teaching the Constitution. And there was Barack Obama, teaching our young people about the Constitution with fire and passion. I knew he was special at that moment.

It turned out that Barack lived a few blocks away from me in Hyde Park and was very active in the community. He had taken a different route than I had to improve the community. He mainly worked through the churches while I mainly worked through the school but we had projects we worked on together - and Barack was always trying to get my money. But like his take on the Constitution, it was the way that he went about organizing the community that really impressed me.

It was always - always - about being open and honest with the community. He would say over and over, "We have got to do this the right way". The idea of trying to sneak something past the community behind closed doors was unthinkable to him. A community could not take ownership of something they didn't understand or, even worse, know about. He always talked about bringing people together and how there was strength in that and weakness in excluding people. He was, and is, so right about these things.

When Barack first started thinking about making a serious run for the Illinois State Senate his concern wasn't what he would get out of it, or what it would do for him - he was just trying to figure out where he could be to do the most good. And he had his doubts that the State Senate was the right place. He figured it out. But in all seriousness, Barack Obama just wanted to be in the place where he could help other people the most. That's really not normal for people running for elected office.

I left Hyde Park shortly after he was elected and haven't had any personal contact with him since. But I will always admire the person that Barack Obama is.

Barack Obama really is a shining light. He is a wonderful man and a man that understands his limitation and isn't afraid to ask people for help (and he has some great connection to some of the finest minds on just about every topic you can think of - and he isn't afraid to use those connections). He is a true leader in every sense of the word and he would be a wonderful President of the United States of America.

Now as for me, I'm going to return to my non-speaking roll on the topic of Presidential nominees for the Democratic Party, for now at least. I hope people at this web site will start to treat all the Democratic hopefuls with the respect they deserve. There should be a great policy debate going on here - and I see too little of that. There should be people making stirring endorsements of the candidates they favor based on who that candidate is and what they will do, but I see more profanity laced rants about why people don't support this candidate or that candidate. We can choose to be strong and positive Ė that doesnít mean differences can not be discussed or different candidates can not be supported, itís just a question of courtesy. Courtesy should never be in doubt among friends.

Best to you all!




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