Sunday, February 10, 2008


So I’ve been quite blessed to have gone to some amazing schools even since Day-Care. And because of it, I often have former classmates (whether I knew them well or not) who are doing big things (renown or not) in the world. It often gives me the opportunity to do call up favors: “Hey, can you, the leading historian, come to my campus to speak for an event?” or “I keep getting this thing in the mail and I don’t know who it’s from, will you please trace this name and tell me everything you know on it including an address, please?” Things like that. Well, I was reminded recently, that I went to school with Obama. This is not an attempt at name-dropping or trying to ride his coattails; if you ask my family I say this all the time about other people. It doesn’t mean we were the same class or at the same time, but were at the same institution. You hear some funny stories sometimes because of the people that have gone before you.

Anyway, the last time I mentioned Suresh and just sent the e-mail out hurriedly, I wanted to mention what Suresh (the Trini biography-writer who has lived in South Africa for at least 10 years now) said. Suresh was actually in the same law school class with Obama. And in one particular class (course), the professor was talking about politics. The professor espoused that the way to do politics correctly was to deracialize politics. And this was the way one should do politics. Well, if you know Suresh and Obama, you’ll know (as Suresh said) that they were the two most vocal people in the classroom. Obama was on the side of people that agreed that you must deracialize (Suresh’s word) politics. Suresh disagreed and felt you have to deal with it or leave it in, so to speak. The interesting thing Suresh pointed out over dinner, was that Obama’s campaign is the practical implementation of everything he said in the classroom that particular day in that particular class. In fact, this campaign would show who was right. If Obama was right, he will win, and if Suresh was right, Obama will lose, which Suresh doesn’t want. Interesting, huh?

I’ve always felt that Obama would win and still hold to that though people keep giving me conflicting reports (I don’t like for people to tell me counts before a state finishes tallying their vote for the night because it makes too much confusion and can be wrong). But actually honestly, I have to correct my thoughts and what Suresh said. For reasons I haven’t mentioned, I feel Obama will win and (if Obama was right) Suresh thinks he will win in a presidential race against a Republican.

Using the same logic (as Fletcher pointed out, Clinton is more polarizing then Obama) on my side and Obama’s law school arguments, the stance that he will win is much weaker if you talk about a Democratic primary race. This is because of two reasons. Clinton’s polarization deals with the entire nation and we’re looking at a subset—Democrats (or whoever would like to vote in the Democratic primary this year to be honest). And deracializing politics seems to be a way to pull in whites from either party, not a way to hold on to minorities who tend to lean away from the Republican party. So we shall see.

Suresh especially thought that deracializing politics doesn’t work because of some effect (the one where a white person thinks she will vote for Obama and likes what he says but when she gets to the poll both chooses a white candidate; I don’t know what this is called). I still hold, though it looks different, that Obama will win the Democratic primary from my vantage point. I think he would for sure if the entire globe were voting.

If you’re an American or from the States, you’ve probably already seen this, but I’m sending it anyway. Here’s an Obama video my good friend Jennifer (she’s the one I asked you to contribute to as she ran for Teach for American in Hawaii) sent me. She added, “Politics aside, it’s just good stuff.” That’s a paraphrase.

Over here, no words yet on if Annan (Kofi) can get Kibaki to budge on having another set of election or some kind of resolution to the conflict in Kenya. Now the count is over 1,000 people (last time I mentioned it, it was over 600). Everything is affected even universities like where I work at. I read about one university that had 1/2 Kikuyu and Kamba students/people who all left. The infrastructure in all realms is likewise seriously hampered.

I don’t know if I should be hopeful or not about the Zimbabwe elections. But a (now former since announcing this) member of Mugabe’s party is now going to run against him. We’ll see what happens. I think it’s a bit courageous.

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