Critique of Obama from the Left

/ 13 February 2008

I think it’s important to hear and understand that there are people on the Left who are deeply skeptical of Obama’s campaign. I would counter this argument by pointing out that NO person elected through our current corrupt and two party system is going to be able to move in the ways this author is dreaming. I would also say, as someone who carries white skin privilege, and is attempting to deconstruct that privilege, that there are many of us who are white, who strongly support Barack Obama, and who are very clear about the systemic nature of racial oppression in this country. We are not in a “post- racism” time yet. And one president is not, by her or himself going to be able to erase that particular system of oppression.

Still, that being said, I am not so far left on the spectrum that I would give up on our electoral process completely. And I think that Obama represents a moment of hope and a glimpse of what might be possible, given a movement for change. The writer of the essay linked above does not believe it's appropriate to link Obama with MLK, Jr.'s dreams. But I would venture to guess that similar writers, during the 60's, were not supporting MLK, Jr. as being far enough Left, either. I think the Dream endures, and I also believe -- as a person of faith -- that no matter how hard many of us work, as broken and fallible human beings, we can't do it alone. Still, we CAN do some things together, and this campaign is the best and brightest hope of building such a movement that I've seen in my lifetime. Let's stay in conversation with people on both the Right and the Left, but let's not forget that the electoral process -- particularly on the national level -- is a central, leaning right one in our current structures of power.