Monday, April 7, 2008

Really Though: A Case of Smoke Without Fire

Photo: Charles Dharapak
Unlike many other black operated blogs and websites, Onyx Cranium has no confusion about why Hillary Clinton has remained in the race for the Democratic primary election. No person would spend her entire career building toward being the first female leader of the world's (current) preeminent superpower, only to drop out when given a somewhat unexpected challenge from a brother most people didn't know existed until 2004. So despite her missteps and believing Obama "has her" on certain key issues, we haven't been advocating that Hillary narrow the choices for president by leaving until she has to.

Then we read about her sudden insistence that the United States boycott the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. And finally, we have to say, "What the hell?" Here's a short list of why her stance (if you want to call it that) is suspect, wasteful and distracting.

1) China's human rights abuses, the reported reasoning behind the suggested boycott, is well-known. Just because mainstream news has decided to focus on Tibet, labor issues and other instances of China's heavy handed rule doesn't mean it's anything "new." Sure the stakes have been raised by China through increased arrests, intimidation and violence against protesters and...uh-oh, this is starting to remind us of someone else. All that to say, if this protest was genuine, it shoulda come earlier.

2) Boycotting the opening ceremonies would be a more powerful statement if we were to say, also boycott the games. Though honorable, this is never a popular option no matter what the political climate. Why? Well, duh - the athletes. It's one thing not to walk into the Olympic Stadium, it's something altogether different to forgo competing in a sport you've trained in for life and not getting another shot to do so for another four years (assuming you make it through the next set of Olympic trials). We won't even get into endorsements. So, Senator Clinton opts to "split the difference." We don't doubt that she feels the pain of athletes anxious to compete, however this is a political tactic. It's a surefire way to alienate voters especially those who are like the majority of the American public, meaning rather ignorant (by choice or chance) of the United States' complex relationship with and dependence on China. We won't fault a politician for being political - that would be stupid. But supporting participation in the games and not the opening ceremony feels...shallow.

3) She knows it won't happen, so she won't have to deal with any fallout should the U.S. opt out of the opening ceremonies. Bush simply ain't havin' it. He likes to wrangle with China behind closed doors and so does President Cheney. Such a public and in-your-face demonstration would make China lose face. Though it's often touted, such a display could have economic consequences that our current economy (what with the "recession" and all) couldn't handle. Senator Clinton, no matter what others may say, is undeniably smart. And she knows this.

Bloggers and columnists suspect she's taking the spotlight off another high level campaign staff change and comparatively lower fund raising against her opponent. Sure she is, but so what. That's how the game of politics works. Our stance is that there are several more worthy ways for her to do so. Staff changes and raising several million dollars instead of several million more dollars are snoozers to us anyway. We'd rather Senator Clinton use the scrutinizing focus on her to steer us toward more important issues and problems that affect the entire U.S. population rather than just her campaign. We'll even take this time as an opportunity to focus on whatever her plan is to reduce our dependence on China and other countries for servicing our $9 trillion debt. Why? Because it directly impacts Medicare, Social Security, Defense and other "budget busters" our generation must grapple with. But opting out of the opening ceremonies as a gesture or symbolic statement? Nuh-uh.

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