Tuesday, March 4, 2008

to whom it may concern.

(Joshua Masayoshi Huff)

i sit here, watching hillary take rhode island and ohio and barack taking vermont--with texas still teetering in the balance--and i don't know what to say.

politics aren't about pretty speeches, obviously, but for so long, politics haven't been about morals, either. i'm not going to pull a cynical rant, for i do that far too often on other subjects and because i know every knows about the crooked nature of what goes on in washington. private handshakes, capitol hill steak dinners--the list goes on and will continue to do so.

however, there's something about barack that i believe in. i don't think i've believed in anyone this much politically in my life--and i'm not just saying that to say it. i probably started to care about the presidential elections in 2000. i wasn't sold on al gore--i just wanted him to win. i had been told in first grade by my parents that we were democrats (the only reason i asked was because my first grade teacher made it an assignment to ask our parents--this is the same teacher who told me that hawaii was the 49th state--i asked my mom to take me to the library and copied an encyclopedia entry saying that, no, in fact, hawaii was the fiftieth state). actually, both of them scoffed at me when i asked. their independent answers were the same:

we are democrats. the people of hawaii are democrats. we don't have money--we're democrats.

i was a bit disappointed--"democrat" didn't sound as powerful as "republican". however, i became a staunch democrat from that day forward.

my parents have since seemed to become moderates (with my mom swearing she would have voted for rudy and my dad abstaining from voting from 2000 on because he said he couldn't decide between bush and gore), and my mom has tried to convince me that, in fact, i am a republican. "your fiscal ideas are fairly conservative", she tells me, and many times, i can't really argue.

however, being raised in hawaii, i don't think that money means as much to me as social issues. i am staunchly pro-choice, pro gay rights and pro stem cell research. i am incredibly anti-NCLB (most of my high school newspaper articles lambasted it) and am all for dialogue, not bombs.

i realize that this election isn't really about any of these things. it isn't and it won't ever be.


but moving forward, i realize that barack obama is me. he's the america that i believe in--the america that i hope exists.

i'm not a history nor a political science major, and even as an international relations/global business major, i cannot say that i've taken a single course in college on american politics or american foreign policy. my background is primarily in asian affairs...with a hint of contemporary europe. this is illustrated in most pieces i wrote for jj and for the world at large--most of my work has been done on comfort women and the impact of european football/soccer.

traveling throughout america and interacting with people (including my own relatives living on the continent), it becomes fairly obvious that america is not me. it's strange saying that i'm not america--we're supposed to believe that the country is a sum of its parts and amalgamation of all of us.

i just don't see it. america isn't cities--america is everything in-between the cities that i love. finally, in barack, i see a candidate that i feel represents me--and not because he's from hawaii. it's been argued that his punahou schooling makes him of a "privileged hawaii" much different from my own. that does not matter to me--not a bit. not only do i think the previous statement is untrue, i find it irrelevant.

barack is a contradiction. he's an outsider among the elite. he's everything--and not by choice, but by being. you can't tell me the same about hillary. she isn't america to me--and she won't ever be.

i know this race isn't about who is or isn't most symbolic of america--it's about the issues. but if it were simply about the issues, 98% of this country shouldn't be allowed to vote. politics are everything to everyone. it's about speeches. it's about the ties. it's about hillary's hair. it's about old pictures. it's about beliefs. it's about hopes and dreams. it's about old, misinterpreted quotes. so, i don't really pay much attention to anyone who tries to discredit what i have to say.

it'd be easy to say that i want barack more than hillary because i am sexist. turnabout is fair play, though--it's just as easy to say those that prefer hillary prefer whites over african-americans or those with muslim ancestors. it's not about any of those things. at the same time, it's exactly about those things. like i said--it's politics, and it's everything that you want it to be and anything and everything anyone wants it to be. and, at the same time, you have to be able to take whatever anyone has to say regardless of how absurd it is, because that's the contract we all buy into when having an opinion on such things.

as i've said--i don't know anything about history. i somehow pulled a five on the ap us history test--which now seems so long ago and seems so irrelevant. however, i do know that abraham lincoln is regarded as one of the best orators of all time. i do know that abraham lincoln led the country at a time when it was at a crossroads--it was strongly divided (the states that make up the SEC and the parts of the ACC seceded, for heaven's sake).

and no one seems to say that he was a worse president for it (he was also from illinois, though this is extremely irrelevant).

i'm tired of people saying that barack is all about speeches. i don't care if he takes good lines from the speeches of others--the best writers always do. i'd rather have an incredibly charismatic speaker than someone with no charm whatsoever. they're selling us almost the same thing--why don't we want a good salesperson who makes us feel good about what we're buying?

i'm also sick of people saying that he has no experience--that he's too green. they said the same about my beloved arsenal...who triumphed today over not only europe's champions, but one of the continent's oldest, most experienced teams.

we keep saying that it's time for a fresh start and that it's time for new ideas and new blood--and at the same time, we knock someone for being too young and too fresh and too inexperienced. this youth should be worn as a badge of honor. the politics of the capital changes people. it sterilizes them--it makes them indistinguishable from others, regardless of party. no one rocks the boat--everyone's happy with making up the numbers and keeping the status quo.

will i vote for hillary if she triumphs over barack? yes--but that's because she's a better representation of my america and my vision for the country than what senator mccain can offer.

to me, the key line of the night was when mr. obama said that "these people know that government can't solve all their problems"

not yet. but a government changed incrementally can. a fresh, young government with bright eyes and an eager heart and a strong voice who's heard everything in the book.

and to those considering voting for mccain, think of how much you complain about where the country is going. losing your job? republicans. high taxes? republicans. war? republicans. everyone hated gw bush in 2004--and he found a way to win. i understand not all republicans are the same and that mccain is NOT gw bush. i understand it's frivolous and counter-productive to say "he's a republican and, by extension, he stands for all of these things". but if 2004 was a referendum on the gw bush presidency, then 2008 is a referendum on the state of the union--and so many people seem so unhappy (and rightfully so). the only way to change things is, to, uh, actually change the ideology of those in power...by picking new people with new ideas to put into the driver's seat.

with all of this being said, we all know who i'll be rooting for to pull out a dubya...err...w..in texas tomorrow morning.

cheers (and with hopes of a better tomorrow),


(and have bsto in your thoughts today--he's having surgery on his shoulder)