Friday, January 04, 2008

The Dawn

While watching the news last night, I experienced an emotion that was so foreign to me, I had to pause a second in order to recognize it. It's called hope, and it is alive. The Obama victory in the Iowa caucuses said volumes about in which direction this country wants to go. Going into election day in a dead heat, Obama didn't merely win, he trounced his opponents and pushed the proverbial lady in waiting to an undistinguished third place. If that weren't history enough, the rousing spectacle of Obama's victory speech in front of a cheering audience bordering on ecstasy was something I have not seen since 1968. If it's always darkest before dawn, Bush is the darkness and Obama is the sunrise.

I admit to being an emotional man who is both gladdened and saddened far too easily, but Obama's electrifying address caused me to weep at the realization that this improbable candidate is both the political and spiritual heir to Robert Francis Kennedy, and our nation finally has another chance at redemption from decades of hubris, arrogance, and greed. Obama put together a coalition of old and young, and rich and poor. I would say black and white, but there aren't many African Americans in Iowa. I have visited Iowa in winter and its' citizens this time of year are mainly blue. But the most astounding number of the night was not that Barack won by eight points over John Edwards and nine points over Hillary, but that he won 35% of the woman's vote compared to Clinton's 30%. Can you say Oprah?

Only a few weeks ago, the mainstream media was speaking of the Clinton inevitability, thus proving the openly and often spoken suggestion that network and cable news programs are bad entertainment who's spokesmen are mainly full of bullshit, and once courageous and groundbreaking newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times are now merely shills for their corporate masters. So the Obama thumping caught them by surprise and left them wild-eyed with fresh speculation. Columnist Eugene Robinson of the Post made the Robert Kennedy comparison and presidential advisor David Gergen referenced Martin Luther King in Obama's speaking style. But thanks to C-Span, the no commentator network, it was clear that something electric, extraordinary, and groundbreaking was happening in that room during Obama's speech.

I trust the speech will be shown again and I hope that you are able to see it. I know the Orange Bowl was more important to some than the Iowa caucus, but something akin to a movement was born last night that will only grow larger with time. With the New Hampshire primary only five days away, I see no way for the Clintons to regain any momentum. She is the establishment candidate and the populace is sick of the establishment. Her entire senate career of triangulation and calculation has come to naught. All those carefully calibrated Senate votes in trying to show herself as the candidate with the most machismo has come a cropper. Didn't Dorothy Rodham ever tell her daughter "To thine own self be true?" My wife, Melody, called Clinton, "Bush in a pants-suit." By contrast, Obama is the real deal; consistent, eloquent, inspiring.

One additional bit of amazement for me was that Obama's race was barely a factor in voters' minds, as much as the need for sweeping change. If whites in Iowa will vote for Obama without a second glance at this country's ever-lingering racial discord, then something truly historic has happened. MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman described it as a generational shift where racial differences just aren't that meaningful to young people who grew up in an integrated society. I see it in my own step-son whose friendships with his peers, both white and black, are seamless. It would be well to remember, however, that scores of past campaign trails are littered with those sorrowfully unelected who depended on the support of the young. If Iowa is an indicator, maybe it will be different this time around. Maybe.

If young people would come out and vote, I would gladly relinquish the reigns of power that my generation seized, but badly misused. My generation was split in twain a long time ago and the two sides of that divide have now been represented by the brilliant but morally flawed Bill Clinton, and the maritally faithful but grossly incompetent George Bush. It's time to turn the page on the Bushes, the Clintons, and their respective philosophies of centrist pandering and right-wing extremism. I am tired of fighting the Vietnam War over again and arguing about someone's personal sexual decisions, especially now that there's a democracy to be saved; ours. For the so-called "values voters," who twice elected re-born Bush, don't dream of a Huckabee presidency. Though Huckabee talks more like a Jimmy Carter Christian than a George Bush Christian, President Zero has tarnished and distorted the faith and proven the absolute necessity of separation of church and state. It will be sweater weather in hell before a self-proclaimed Evangelical is elected president again on the basis of his religion. And to the Bush supporters, if there are any left who will admit it, allow me to quote Sir Paul McCartney;
" Boy, you're going to carry that weight a long time."


hayden said...

I agree. Mydream ticket is Obama-Edwards.

cindy said...

All I can say is ...thank goodness! and intelligence!

Anonymous said...

Maybe even better still is the shear number of voters in this red state that voted for the Dems. If I counted right it looks like there were 210,000 in the Dem column and about half that many for the GOP

gregg said...

And, it came to pass during a coldness that had descended on the land that a star came into sight, and it was large and there was warmth and to all upon whom it shed its light there was gratitude and there was a movement among the people and they did speak and when they did they spoke as one and
their voices made a gladdened sound upon the land. And there were tears in the eyes of the maidens and they did fall as well from those who had formed many generations in their fruitfulness, and the cheeks were wet of the shepherd in his field, and of so many of those who had seen the light of the star. And there was an awakeness and wakefulness about the multitudes. And it came to pass, the first night.

The landslide of 08 will occur. What we do with it we can read about and look back on if we can live for another 25 years. So, take your vitamins and get out on the goddam street and get your exercise. Some things may happen we can be proud of.

kimk said...


Finally you're back! I left a comment at your "Elvis...30" entry thinking that the blog software would alert you to new entries; apparently that thinking was either incorrect or you're just ignoring me!

Anyhow since I'm off-topic go find that comment and use the email address there.


ps: I didn't mean to missspel your name in that comment.

Anonymous said...

Yes,I'm more relieved about Hillary's apparrent demise
than Huckabee's non separation of
church and state.......if
McCain doesn't give him a run in
New Hampshire,with his humor,wit,
Huckabee could win the nomination.
He certainly caught my attention
weeks ago.....though I am weary of his roots,he certainly is a man of conviction...

Anonymous said...

Well, you've done it again. Great writing and even better insight. What I would like to know is why someone hasen't published your musings.What a great column writer you would make. What's up down there in old Mempho??Nobody smart enough to hook you up? Good luck and keep up the great writing.It warms my cold heart up north here.

davethedog said...

Regarding this "great event", I'm not convinced yet. It reminds me more of when Micheal Hooks was elected Assessor of Property in Memphis. Regarding the black vote in Iowa, there aren't any to speak of. Let's wait until a few more caucuses are heard from.

About Huckabee and the religious right. Don't underestimate them. I would rather have Two Hillaries, than worry about a Republican evangelical group again. Huckabee is still the politics of hatred, but he does a damn good job of hiding it. "Those people" can justify anything in the name their interpretation of the words of 'JESUS".

Also, I don't understand why "our side" has become such Hillary-haters. I would love to see her elected if only so the right wingers could ,"CHOKE ON IT!"

We shall see what happens. By the way, what ever happened to Michael Hooks?

Anonymous said...

link to Obama speech

Anonymous said...

Hope springs know the rest. You Dems have always been such starry-eyed idealists. Obama will never be president. The problem is not so much with Obama himself as it is concern about those that he would surround himself with if elected. Look at Memphis since Herenton took office. Though in many ways race relations are improving throughout the country and especially with the young because they have grown up in an integrated society (as you said), it is still going to take some time for trust to grow before a black is elected president. Maybe it could happen in about 25-30 years after more of the pre-segregation generations die off. The bottom line is that the culture is not integrated enough to elect a black president. It will take more time. My personal choice for president would be Alan Keyes. I feel that he is the smartest, wisest, and most knowledgeable man running. In fact, he is so intelligent that most people really don't understand many of the things that he says.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I meant to say 'after more of the pre-integration generations die off' the previous comment.

davethedog said...

Don't be sipping on "hater-ade" about my man Obaba, or I will have to CUT YOU!

Anonymous said...

I'm not vibing any hate at all. He is a sharp, charismatic guy. I just don't think that he has the stuff to be an effective president and I think that many folks would be a little nervous about his appointments and about his lack of experience for such a weighty office. You wouldn't want the Democratic equivalent of Bush in office.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Hey, im from memphis, l;ive in atlanta now, well Obama does have a Coretta. and if Obama wins the delegate count and hill wins the super del's, it will be like running into a brick wall for the Dems