The 2008 Race — Hope vs. Paranoia & Cynicism?

March 2, 2008

by CB Buchholz

hope cynicism 2

At a restaurant dinner last Friday night, this same conversation topic came up — Hillary and Obama and the whole presidential race. And the conversation ended with a new twist that left me thinking. My dinner partners were members of the Generation X, and they pointed out to my political thinking being based on paranoia or cynicism.

Then I came home to find a comment from Ben Vess under theThree More States for Obama article. Mr. Vess asked this — “Never mind, You guys endorsed Clinton for President and Obama for Veep… curious question, would you fully support Obama if Hillary loses?”

This question could not come at a more opportune time. In fact, this past week the DEAF DEMOCRATS editors have been holding behind-the-scene discussions on this topic and other related topics. More specifically, these discussions focused on whether to move this dialogue to the next level, into some uncharted terriroty. This involves some risk, but a necessary risk just to get this out in the open. After all, this is OUR country and OUR electoral process.

In response to my dinner partners’ comments about my political thinking, I say this — my thinking is based on my life experiences and nobody can take this away from me! At the time of my birth, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the president, but as far as I’m concerned, John F. Kennedy was my first president, when I first gained political consciousness at the age of 7. How I remember this drop-dead gorgeous JFK, and his huge and handsome clan and their pets! And this house they occupied that we all called the White House! And the TV newsreels and photos coming out of the family compound at Hyannis Port and Hickory Hill, Robert F. Kennedy’s estate in Virginia! It was Camelot in the fullest sense of the word.

In those days, Route 66 was very much the bloodstream of America while the interstate highway system was being built. Air travel in these days was such a novelty that we had to wear our Sunday clothes and white gloves just to travel in those propeller planes! And my two older sisters were very much into the bobby sox and twist dance culture! The television medium had not yet realized its power and potential. I still remember vividly the kind of America in these days — full of idealism, prosperity and optimism, almost like living in Disneyland year-round. And we had the right president at the right time.

The first inklings that things were not right with the world occured through the civil rights movement in the South, through TV newsreels showing African-Americans being attacked by German Shephard dogs and fire hoses. How could such cruelty be possible? Then the world came crashing down on November 22, 1963, with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. In the next several days known as the Four Dark Days, the television medium realized its full potential when millions of American viewers witnessed the murder of Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, on our TV screens. Then there was the full spectacle of the president’s funeral and his burial at Arlington National Cemetary. That was a day when the whole country literally shut down. How could one explain these events to a 10-year-old kid like myself?

The remainder of the 1960s passed by with several more assassinations — Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Also there were racial riots, the escalating Vietnam war and the ensuing anti-war protests, highlighted by the one at Kent State University (in Ohio) where my cousin’s roommate was one of the 4 students killed by the National Guardsmen. Heck, my cousin herself could have gotten killed! Those were truly the days of RAGE!

All these events comprised the political education that many people of my generation and I acquired by the time I entered college. I kept thinking that somehow things would get better in the world — a mindset that was deflated in no time. The Vietnamese war spiraled out of control, and then there was the Watergate scandal which culminated in President Nixon’s resignation. Also during the 1970s, there was a near-assassination of Alabama governor George C. Wallace who was running for President, and an assassination attempt made on President Gerald Ford. Then the newly-inaugurated President Ronald Reagan got shot in 1981.

While still on the subject of assassinations, around the world in my lifetime, there was Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin, India’s Indira Gandhi and later her son Rajiv Gandhi, Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino whose murder led to his wife Cory taking over and ousting Ferdinando Marcos, Britain’s John Lennon (a cultural assassination) and Lord Louis Mountbatten whose deaf sister was mother to Prince Phillip (husband of Queen Elizabeth II), and most recently, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.

You may think that I seem obsessed with assassinations, but that is not the case. All these assassinations and near-assassinations, both in our nation and aboard, happened within my lifetime and I haven’t reached the age of 55 years yet! One interesting trend I’ve noticed is that regardless of where these leaders stood on the political spectrum, they all were considered “agents of change.”

Which leads to this notion… Hope and change may be too much of a luxury that we just cannot buy into. In this election year, we are faced with several serious issues — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear threats, the economy, health care crisis, a weakened educational system, energy & global warming, and the immigration situation with 12 million illegals in our nation today. Therefore, we need some hard-nosed answers or solutions. This may explain why some voters become real nervous when they hear words and promises of change to come, and when they see where the presidential race is headed these days.

The emergence of Barack Obama seems to imply a return to the days of Camelot, and that’s what some of us are struggling with. We are living in a much different world today, very unlike the 1950s and 1960s. Also, our Camelot experiences ended in pain and disillusionment. To the charges of “paranoia” and “cynicism,” we say — NOT SO FAST! Our views are based on reality and pragmatism, coming from the kind of history we grew up with and lived through. WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF CAMELOT ALL GROWN UP!

Our country has reached this point where, like in the Parker Brothers board game LIFE, we are arriving in a space called “A Day of Reckoning.” The American voters are now faced with a choice between EXPERIENCE to get us through an uncertain future and CHANGE, a promise of better things to come. This is why the DEAF DEMOCRATS editors have endorsed both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to run on the same ticket.

In this election year, everyone has been focusing on the electability of the candidates, and there is a multitude of polls everywhere. We say — do not put too much faith in polls. We have yet to see the real America speak out, and this will happen on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008.

Thus, your vote is very crucial as it can determine what kind of future we all will live in… Think hard on your choices and vote through your heart! Good luck to Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island this coming Tuesday!

(Pictured in the news banner above, left to right: Britain’s Lord Louis Mountbatten; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan; the Kennedy brothers; and Malcolm X.)

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors



  1. […] DEAF DEMOCRATS wrote an interesting post today on The 2008 Race – Hope vs. Paranoia & Cynicism?Here’s a quick excerptAll these events comprised the political education I among many other people of my generation had acquired by the time I entered college…. […]

  2. CB, you’ve taken us on a very interesting journey that most people who are older can relate to. No I’m nowhere near 55, but definitely much older than the new younger generation that seems excited about the effects of Obama’s hope.

    I too am hesitant and reluctant because we’ve seen promises made in the past and Obama has not yet been in a position to demonstrate that he can hold true to his promises. He can’t even hold a major hearing for the subcommittee he is chairing in the Senate. There has not been a single major hearing since he took over chairmanship. And this is the subcommitte that decides on NATO affairs.

    Going back to Ben Vess’s question that you brought up in the beginning of this article, I’d like to remind people of a CNN exit poll that came out on the recent election day in Wisconsin. In that exit poll, they found that people who voted for Clinton said if Obama wins the nomination they will vote for Obama in the General Election.

    By contrast, people who voted for Obama in the Wisconsin election said they would NOT vote for Clinton if she wins the nomination.

    So, I find the question of whether CB would vote Obama to be somewhat neglible because we Clintonians have already voiced our support for both candidates, whereas Obamacans have voiced their support only for Obama, thus dividing the Democratic Party if Obama doesn’t win. And Obama calls himself the uniter? How can he be a uniter if he can’t unite his own people with others?

  3. […] DEAF DEMOCRATS wrote an interesting post today on The 2008 Race – Hope vs. Paranoia & Cynicism?Here’s a quick excerptIn this election year, we are faced with several serious issues — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy, the health care crisis, the educational system, e… […]

  4. Very good article! I’m with Bryen tho…everything he just said, I second!

  5. The article was well thought out and stated! I have maintained a strong position, in terms of supporting Obama up until this very morning of the election. Further reflection has me wondering the prudence of my support, given a critical component I’ve overlooked … Obama’s support of Israel (or supposed lack thereof). I *do* believe that Obama supports Israel and its positions. After all, Jewish senators and congressmen have sat with him in the chambers as they’ve casted their votes. He has Jewish right-hand (wo)men, and front (wo)men … What concerns me is: 1) if “I” had some doubts surface, I can hardly believe I am alone in my wonderment; and 2) whether there are enough of people like me who are willing to believe that his positions are pro-Israel. Is this partly the reason that there are a number of Hillary supporters who would defect to McCain’s side, should Obama win the nomination?

    Can Hillary and Obama join hands after their dog-cat battles? Surely, I would hope so. I wish I were more optimistic. May we be blessed with having the best man *and* woman win in November 2008.

  6. FYI, As a self-proclaimed “Obamacan” supporter, I would, in fact, cast my vote for none other than Hillary.

  7. Ken, I agree with you too! Honestly I do hope we end up with both. Eventually come November, we must come together.

  8. NBC News — March 5, 2008 at 12:45 a.m. announced Hillary as the winner of Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Obama won only one today: Vermont. The newscaster said that Pennsylvania would be for Hillary. Meaning? She has already won the biggest states (California and Texas). Latinos in Florida would go for Hillary.
    Obama, as gentlemanly as ever, congratulated Hillary for winning Ohio.

    The Washington Post’s front page (3/4/08) shows a picture of three women. One of them is for Obama. The second one is for Hillary BECAUSE she is a woman. The third says that Hillary wants the job NOT FOR US but for herself.

    Once Hillary sits down at the presidential desk, she will get her husband a job as
    ambassador somewhere.

  9. Last night at the caucus, I ran into an authentic “Obamacan.” I honestly was unaware that Republican cross-overs considered themselves “Obamacans.” Eek! I called myself an Obamacan–that’s like a wolf in sheep clothing :-). I’m just a sheep — baaaaadddd.

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