Monday, March 17, 2008

Barack’s New Diggs

By Zac Willis

I want to comment on just how far the United States political campaigning has fallen to an all time low. A photo a few weeks ago was released of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) wearing traditional attire of a Somali Elder during a visit to Wajir, Kenya in 2006. The reason for the photo creating a controversy centers around a few topics.

The photo is of Obama wearing a white turban and another sort of cloth wrapped around his body. The Obama camp is calling out the Clinton camp and saying they are using it as a tactic to smear Obama. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is of course denying this and saying it is a tactic that is being used to distract voters from Obama’s ideas on healthcare, the economy, and his political experience. It just seems to be a he said she said back and forth battle. Clinton is mad and desperate because she needs wins, and Obama is worried because it will hurt his momentum.

The political back and forth is very infantile. We all know that people travel over seas to foreign countries to experience culture and to learn new things. For Obama to go to Kenya, which is where his dad is from, and meet with elders from the town and wear traditional clothing is nothing new or something to sound the alarms about. He was giving respect to the people he was meeting with and showing them that he was genuinely interested in what they have to offer. Clinton herself said that it was ridiculous for this to be an issue because she has been to other countries and worn traditional clothing. So if that is the case, why are there accusations that the Clinton campaign is responsible for the releasing the photo?

This is a clear indication of an act of desperation by a campaign that is fallen. In my opening sentence, I said that political campaigning reached an all time low; in my eyes, it might even have fallen off the map. For a country that has major problems with foreign policy, economy, healthcare, and so on, we should be caring about these issues and who will be the best president to lead our country. Hopefully, the election results will bring a change to benefit all Americans. The Presidential race should not revolve around smearing someone’s name, the American public is better than that and definitely deserves better. If candidates have problems with one another, fight it out in a debate so people can really understand and see how they handle pressure on the topics that matter.

The question is going to be how will this affect Obama in the last remaining primaries? I hope that it doesn’t. It shouldn’t. People should not be afraid to go to a foreign country and dress like a native to that country, then later have to worry about how they are going to be viewed if they return home with a picture.

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