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Got guts?

Barack Obama appears to be willing to speak truthfully, to live transparently to a certain degree, and that takes guts. And I like that.

I like the fact that Obama smoked dope, admits it, and doesn’t do it now. That tells me that he’s pretty much like an awful lot of other people in the United States.

We’ve got a country that turns on and off with drugs every day, taking everything from Viagra to get us up to Valium to calm us down. We’ve got everything from a Miss America fresh out of rehab to a president who’s been arrested for drunk driving. None of us is so pristine that we should be dogging Obama about his past.

I have a lot of respect for Obama for being man enough to say, yes, he smoked some weed. To say yes, of course, he inhaled, and unlike Hillary’s hubby, he’s man enough to admit it. And unlike G.W., who, until he was 40, didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to face life without a substance propping him up, Obama had the good sense to “just say no” to a lifetime of use while still in his teens.

Basically, I think the world boils down to two kinds of people: the kind who have guts and the kind who don’t.

It’s rare to meet anyone with real guts. I’m talking the visceral down and dirty kind of guts it takes to look down the barrel of life and choose to say what you mean and live what you say. It’s a hard road to live that way. And most of us don’t.

Most of us live quiet and not-so-quiet lives of desperately trying to avoid the truth of whom and what we really are, what we believe, and what we’ve done.

I like the fact that Obama smokes cigarettes, admits it, and is trying to quit.

I like the fact that Obama supports a woman’s right to choose to have or not have an abortion. I can’t tell you the number of people I know who support a woman’s right to choose privately but won’t say so publicly. I like the fact that Obama’s willing to take a clear stand.

I like the fact that Obama takes HIV tests publicly and encourages others, particularly men, to overcome the stigma some people associate with simply getting tested. Obama’s willing to make it personal. He knows how to connect with people, to let them know he feels their humanity and that he wants them to feel his too. He knows how to show others that there’s nothing to fear. That’s the quality of a leader.

I like the fact that Obama was against the war in Iraq from the very beginning: “I don’t oppose all wars. . . . What I am opposed to is a dumb war.” Straight talk; smart thinking; way back in 2002 (at an anti-war rally in Chicago).

I like the fact that he knows what he thinks about the war and had the strength of conviction to say what he believed pretty much from day one.

I like the fact that Obama has racially diverse parents. Again, that tells me he’s just like a lot of Americans – a healthy mix of people of different colors.

It takes guts to admit in your forties that you did things in your teens that you wouldn’t necessarily want your children to do. It takes guts to oppose a war “on terror” less than a year after September 11th, 2001.

Obama has spoken previously about the obsession Americans have for nonsense … “the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial,” as he described it. He’s right. Like a nation of scum-suckers crawling along the bottom of the barrel, we feed on the sensational instead of the substance.

It’s going to be a big challenge for us as a nation to “just say no” to the crap the media is going to push on us – not just about Obama, but about all the candidates. It’s going to be hard for us to stay focused on what matters in the long months before November 2008.

Obama’s willingness to be honest about his past makes me think he’d be honest with us as a country. Obama appears to have the guts to forego the glorification of himself as a man so that he can be honest with us as a president. That tells me hI think that’s something all of us would like to see in a president.

Obama strikes me as a man of substance. He strikes me as one of the ones with guts.

Posted on February 2nd, 2007Comments RSS Feed

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