Monday, October 6, 2008

Obama's Dubious "Outreach" Efforts and Thoughts of East Germany

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and American Ally

The spreading news of an “Obama Jugend” (Obama Youth) movement budding in the midst of the presidential campaign troubles me. The idea of party youth groups has a historical resonance that is very troubling.

With the prominence of women in this political race, I find myself thinking of Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany . Merkel was born in the former East Germany to a father who was a Lutheran pastor widely viewed as sympathetic to the communist regime then in power. Although she was at one time a member of FDJ (Free German Youth), she refused to participate in its “Jugendweihe” (youth consecration) ceremony, a common experience to East German youth at the age of 14. Instead, she chose to be confirmed in the Lutheran church. Merkel graduated from the University of Leipzig and has a degree in physics. She is fluent in Russian.

Merkel became active in the democratisation movement “Democratic Awakening” in the late eighties that culminated in the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany. She was elected to the Bundestag after reunification. Her political party later merged with the Christian Democratic Party.

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Obama Campaign Reaches Out For Felon Vote

The Obama campaign is trying to get any vote it can in closely contested states. The strategy of appealing to various constituencies has been extended to convicted felons.

According to an MSNBC article,“Obama has co-sponsored a Senate measure that would allow all ex-felons to vote, but his campaign isn’t directly targeting ex-felons for registration. His campaign does include relevant info on its Web site and educates volunteers so they can explain state laws to those who may not realize they have the right to vote, according to campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis

“All we’re trying to do is make sure that, if someone is eligible, that they know their rights and that if they want to vote, they can take part,” Griffis said Tuesday. “I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Even people who may have been guilty of a misdemeanor feel like the felony laws apply to them and say they can’t vote.”

It is interesting that the Obama campaign assumes that the loyalty of ex-felons is a given. African American communities are afflicted with violent crime rates far higher than those found in white areas. The Obama campaign could give a voice to the weary and traumatised majority of African Americans who are sick of violent crime. He could even articulate a distinction between

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