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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Other Side of Barack Obama

As I learned that Barack Obama won the presidency on the 5th November, I was quite satisfied with this outcome. And yes, I admit this post was long coming. But let me start with why I feel Obama could make a difference in the world. Conversely, I will also be highlighting an issue on which I totally disagree with Obama's position. But first, the good things... Even if I don’t live in the US, I know that America’s foreign policy wasn’t doing much but creating enemies and financing the military while extending wars in non-US territory.

As an African-American, Barack Obama’s victory can also be seen as a triumph for all African-Americans who have suffered discrimination and great injustices due to prejudice and segregationist policies. Hopefully, Obama’s election should encourage a positive change in attitudes and help further dismantle the still prevailing racism present in the US.

I cannot avoid mentioning that Obama has also spoken of unity and has pledged to fight for other groups in society… including disabled people. All this is a quite welcoming change which is part of the reason why I was partly pleased hearing that Obama won. Indeed, on listening to one of Obama’s speeches for unity and of his wish to bring greater equality to American citizens and promoting peace in the world, I couldn't help nodding in agreement .

These are all positive and commendable sides of Barack Obama. Yet, I fear that there are some issues where I don’t get Obama. While he asserts he wishes to stand up for unity and the civil rights of all people, he has consistently held an extreme pro-abortion position (I won't use such euphemisms as 'pro-choice' here). In fact, he has supported the vote against the ban on ‘partial birth abortion’. Partial birth abortion is a procedure which literally involves sucking the baby from the mother’s womb. This surgical intervention is carried out after the 20th week of pregnancy – when the baby is almost fully formed.

Not that this should make any difference since, as we know, human life begins at conception. The debate is whether you classify human life at this stage as a human being. I admit that my position is that discussions on what constitutes human life, being or person-hood are abstract attempts at justifying murder. This is not dissimilar than how Nazis labelled Jews and other groups as ‘inferior’ or ‘subhuman’ to justify genocide. But I digress…

Unfortunately, Obama’s stance on abortion goes further than that. In the period he held as Senator in Illinois, he fervently opposed the Born Alive Act which was aimed at protecting the life of babies who survived an abortion by requiring these babies to be given prompt life-saving medical treatment. In other words, Obama voted for these surviving babies to be left to die.

I feel that this pro-abortion record should be kept in mind, especially since we are bombarded with the image of Obama as defender of minorities and vulnerable people. I guess for Obama, unborn babies do not classify as 'vulnerable' or even as 'people'... May I also remind you that these pro-abortion votes involved the destruction of what are, according to doctors,‘healthy babies’, so I shiver if I think what would be the position on babies having impairments. I dare not ask the question.

Of course, I don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water (pardon the pun). Yes, Obama promises a lot of positive changes for the United States and for our troubled world. However, we must not forget that politicians can promise a lot and then betray us with their actions. Granted, even when it comes to abortion, Obama has said he wants to reduce the number of abortions, invest in better sex education, provide more support to mothers, and help in providing greater adoption options. In addition, he stated he sought to find the 'middle ground' between those who are pro-life and those who are pro-abortion. But then, he goes out saying that he doesn’t want his daughters ‘[to be] punished with a baby’, which makes me wonder a bit…

Unfortunately, John MacCain, Obama’s contender was disadvantaged by Bush’s poor performance while he clung to the old rhetoric of war and rigid policy whilst the Republican pro-life stance did little to address the issue of abortion. Indeed, I expect the decision of many in the pro-life camp to elect Obama wasn’t an easy one to take. However, the fact remains that Obama is now the President of the United States and thus, I hope that he follows up on the other issuess he talked about...

Only time will tell.