Framing and re-framing Obama
Framing and re-framing Obama
People in the mass media and on the WWW (blogs, etc.) are already fencing Obama in by asking citizens to ask and answer deceptive questions about Obama. Sometimes both a yes and a no answer make Obama "wrong" for some individuals. Make people face up to the real questions, the salient questions, about Obama.
Frame issue one:
The Republicans and other authoritarian or racist actors on the political stage would like for everyone to categorize Obama in ways that support automatic negative reactions against him.
The most devious method of causing people to fall in line against Obama uses the bogus category of race to alienate whites from Obama (because he is black) and alienate blacks from Obama too (because he is not black enough). Both of these characterizations are racist. Racism is a reality in this world, but the category of "race" is a social construct constructed on a little data and large quantities of ego-centric imagination.
The question that is real and relevant is not what shade of "gray" Obama is, but whether he will be a force for or against racism.
Frame issue two:
Those who chose religion as a way to gain worldly power for themselves chose at least two ways to categorize Obama: (1) He is a crypto-Muslim. (That is a characterization by association if not a guilt by association appeal, a typical tool of propagandists.) (2) He is a Wrightist Christian. (That characterization assumes that Obama is not a critical thinker capable of picking and choosing from the inputs of people with ideological stances.)
Religions are crystallizations of human experience of the divine. (I stole that formulation from Albert Schweitzer.) Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all human attempts to lead individuals to a spiritual way of relating to other humans. The issue that could give insight into what truly motivates Obama is not what religion he follows, but whether he has actually been inspired by the One that these religions all revere, or whether he is merely someone who spouts or just claims to follow some religious ideology. Has Obama learned compassion, empathy, love of justice? Or is he just someone who spouts religious cant?
Frame issue three:
Many discussions, even by people on the Democrat side, ask: Is Obama a politically competent public speaker? The answers that flow from this line of questioning are: (1) He is a beautiful orator, a spellbinder. (Error: That formulation implies that there is no substance behind the eloquence.) (2) He is an unreliable speaker who often makes gaffs. (Error: Assumes that the things that Clinton and/or McCain may attack him on are in fact wrong. E.g., when Obama advocated what is and has been standard operating procedure, essentially hot pursuit across international borders if bin Laden or his henchmen are detected, both Clinton and McCain made it seem that Obama would invade Pakistan.)
The question should instead be, "Is Obama a clear thinker who is gifted with both acute powers of insight and comprehensive powers of systematization leading to an organic strategic vision that draws in all significant factors of a problem, or is is just an improved version of a one-slogan campaigner like Bob "tax and spend Democrats" Dole?
To John McCain, a barn only has one side at a time.