As happy as I was about the newly announced Obama Biden ticket (Biden was the only candidate I contributed to in the primaries), there was something missing from their speeches Saturday, which i hope will be made clear at the convention, instead of simply more feel good rhetoric:
1) Obama DOES lack governmental experience, which Biden now counter-balances, especially if embraced as a partner, not just a figurehead. But Obama HAS the most important skills required on this job at this time: the ability to understand both sides of an issue and bring people together in cooperation, as exemplified in his years community organizing and in his 37 minute diatribe on race; and the ability to INSPIRE people to want to participate. It is widely understood that an army with morale can beat a better prepared army with less morale. If Obama and Biden work as a team, they can both inspire and make decisions with the benefit of having made past mistakes. Obama's choosing Biden shows that he is more interested in helping America than being the star of the show.
2) They need to DEFINE CHANGE! Lack of clarity will only undercut the Obama/Biden ticket as hypocritical, given Biden's long history in Washington. The future of humanity rests in our ability to make the CHANGE from a paradigm of domination and cowboy aggression to cooperation and understanding. The change we need is a paradigm shift that could be exemplified in the proverbial "3am moment" in which we need a leader who will answer the phone and consider options other than war, and who understands the difference between Sunni and Shia before sending people to die, who knows that peaceful uses of nuclear energy necessitates a greater standard of inspections to prevent nuclear proliferation, who wont reflexively vilify and provoke Russia into escalating a new Cold War because he knows that nuclear holocaust is in the balance. We need a change from an ILLUSION of security to REAL security, which can only be created by a leader who will consider humanity before nationalism because he sees the world in more complex terms than simply "with us or against us." We need a CHANGE from war profiteering to peace making and from unfair fiscal policy to "true Christian" policies that care for those who have the least among us, and energy policies that will help us prosper as we deal with climate change.
The challenges we as Americans and citizens of the world face are not ones that can be dealt with the old paradigm of nationalism; they are GLOBAL in nature: security, environment, and poverty/scarcity of recourses are such issues. Never before have we as a nation faced such dangerous and multivarious adversaries with whom we MUST find a way to get along. The alternative use of force and alienation in this confused nuclear age could and might literally be the end of civilization, with thousands of nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert and the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty in the balance. These are not problems that can be properly dealt with by a war hero, whose ideology of domination and aggression created the problems we face.
The challenges we face must be handled by a team that can work in good faith with our allies and our adversaries to create understanding, cooperation, and justice.
Obama Biden '08!