Friday, May 23, 2008

Obama in Oregon

I am so proud of Portland, Oregon right now. Last Sunday, Barack Obama had his biggest rally ever--75,000 supporters in Waterfront Park on a hot, sunny day; and on Tuesday he won the Oregon primary, 59-41. I look at these photos from the rally and I wish I could've been there (it doesn't hurt that the Decemberists played beforehand!).

Portland is the whitest city of its size in the country--which is not something I'm proud of--so I found it very moving to see these photos of a black man drawing such a crowd of mostly white faces--something that would not have happened earlier in our nation's history.

Also on Tuesday, Portland became the largest city in the country to elect an openly gay mayor, Sam Adams. From what I've seen of Adams, I like him--he had an anti-Wal-Mart sign in the window of his office at City Hall, and he gamely made a guest appearance in one of the "Commission Commission" plays at Portland Center Stage last summer, playing a mad scientist with a German accent.

Seeing these photos and hearing these election results made me realize that even when I move away from Portland (in a few months, or less), I will always feel Portland pride at moments like these. I was at a party when the polls closed on Tuesday night, and ran upstairs to check the election results on a friend's computer. Then I was so happy I hugged my friend Grant, a fellow Portlander, and we talked about how lucky we are to come from a city that is just so incredibly cool.

I know I haven't talked much about politics on this blog, but my feelings about them have grown stronger throughout the primary season. I started off simply preferring Obama to Clinton--I liked his optimism and message of "change," and worried that Clinton isn't electable simply because too many people hate her from the eight years when Bill was president. It also slightly irritated me that Hillary Clinton achieved her high position in politics largely because she is married to a former president--that she didn't get here on her own steam, but simply "made a good marriage"--which is SUCH an archaic notion! Still, I thought she was intelligent, capable... I respected her.

But now, with Clinton's fuzzy math and increasingly outrageous statements, I am losing my respect for her, and worrying that she is going to ruin things for the Democrats in the fall out of her own selfish motives. On Monday, Clinton actually said "If we had the same rules as the Republicans, I would be the nominee right now" and "Karl Rove thinks that I am the stronger candidate" (source). Ugh! Hillary, you're just betraying your own political party right there. I also don't like her insistence that she needs to stay in the race to set an example for younger girls and women, and to combat all the misogynists who want to see ambitious women get cut down. But I am a young feminist, and if a male candidate were saying and doing the same things as Hillary Clinton right now, I'd be just as mad with him as I am with her.

I hope Clinton will realize the virtue of bowing out gracefully before the Democratic Party gets torn even further apart...and I sincerely look forward to casting my first-ever presidential ballot for Barack Obama in the fall. (Disappointingly, I was only 17 years old in 2004, so couldn't cast a vote against Bush.) Already, it was very satisfying that the Oregon Democratic primary actually mattered this year...and that Obama won!

Photos from The Oregonian, via

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