Friday, August 29, 2008

We Overcame

I never thought I'd live to see it. I'm not talking about the Barack Obama nomination, I'm talking about Patrick Buchanan's effusive praise of his populist speech. If Obama can win over Pat Buchanan in a night, imagine what he can do in the next two months. America's fiercest culture warrior deemed the speech "magnificent." I have watched conventions since 1960, but I have never witnessed anything like last night. And after Obama's speech about the specifics of his direction as contrasted with the Republican agenda, I can't understand why anyone wouldn't wish to cast their vote for him. Oh, wait a minute. Yes I can. I live in Memphis, Tennessee, where racism burns like an open flame that some recoil from, while others can't help but draw near to stoke.

The headline of this post is both simplistic and in error. Only, as a songwriter, I couldn't resist a catchy title. But I know that despite the historic event we just witnessed, 45 years to the day of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech, scores of people refused to watch while others watched while muttering obscenities under their breath. Racism lives all around me, and soon, maybe in the comments to this post, you'll see it raise it's pock-marked face once again. I received an anonymous message after Obama won the Iowa primary stating that "America will never elect a black man as president." I told the sender to get used to saying President Obama, but of course I am not that naive. The Old South will never surrender an ingrained white supremest mindset and embrace racial harmony until the last old dog dies. Why do you suppose Ronald Reagan opened his campaign for the presidency in Philadelphia, Mississippi?

But I have just seen a crossroads moment in history presented to the American people for their ratification, and I pray we don't blow it this time, like we did in 1968 and 2004. Last night, Obama said, "Let's not have a big election over small things." In the middle of two wars, the populace re-elected the criminal Bush to halt gay marriage. Then, after Obama's triumphant speech in Berlin, where 250,000 Germans stood and waved American flags, he was ridiculed by his opposition as merely a celebrity. I saw in the negative GOP ads every subliminal way to turn that triumph into a hollow moment, just by appealing to the good old boy American hatred of foreigners. Did you ever notice that those that scream, "This is the greatest country in the world" the loudest, are the one's who've never been anywhere else?

But this country is the only place I can think of where something like last night could have transpired. I read an editorial earlier in the day that spoke of the struggle from "the middle passage" to the present moment and realized, that's just it. Neither Obama's Kenyan father nor Kansan mother had anything to do with the "middle passage." That's why Jesse Jackson and the old guard of the Civil Rights Movement at first had such difficulty moving to his side. Obama was a child during the sixties and was not a participant in the physical, marching reality of the movement, but he is a child of Dr. King's dream nonetheless.

There has been much talk about a post-racial America, and although Obama may be the living representative of such a notion, the country is a long way from that day. As evidenced by recent political activity in Memphis, racism exists on all sides of the skin pigment spectrum and black racism is as insidious as white. But racial politics did not work in Memphis this time. It seems that people are sick to death of it, as well as all "identity politics." They simple wanted to elect a person with their best interests at heart, and not beholden to some party ideology. That is why Obama's multi-racial perspective gives him the ability to speak authoritatively about the subject to all races. I am supporting Barack Obama for the same reason that Oprah stated, "Not because he's black, but because he's brilliant." Don't believe, however, that it will happen without a fierce struggle. But isn't it great that the Democrats finally found a nominee who is prepared to fight back?


Anonymous said...

Excellent, Randy. I could not possibly agree more. I only saw the last third of the speech, but it made me wish I'd seen the rest. Hope to see the rest of it soon. I'm a supporter.


Gregg Grinspan said...

I love reading your words, RJ. You report the truth about fear. None of us escapes feeling fear ourselves, but some types of it have too bad a smell to go without noticing. It's the kind of fear towards which a healthy animal will avoid. It's like putrifying meat. Nobody with a nose or taste buds wants to put it in their mouth. I guess what we have here in 2008 is the great ENT appointment for America. Let's clean out those sinuses so those who couldn't smell the vile stuff that they thought was ok to chew on will realize that they could've killed themselves, literally (in Iraq) or figuratively in a life lived in a hole under a rock...if they don't learn to tell the difference between flies covering their food vs. pepper. Life is too precious for that.

Anonymous said...

Well Mr Macho Liberal Man, don't miss a chance to "wake-up and smell the roses", now you've got a chance to vote for a Lady. Confused?

JS said...

It was amazing to see the glory of it all NIGHT AFTER NIGHT!!!!! In my many years, many more than I ever thought I would live, I have never heard as many strong, well-thought-through speeches as I heard this week. Such PASSION from people from all strata of society. McCan't will have to pull more than rabbits out of a hat to overcome the enthusiasm that we have just witnessed, and I don't think I have ever seen a hat big enough to hold elephants. He does
well to find one that will hold his ego....but then I guess he borrows from bush.
I find it amazing that anyone, McCain to be specific, can have an ego.....after graduating in the bottom ONE PER CENT of his graduating class from the United States Naval Academy.

An excellent column, Randolph!


Randy said...

I'm not at all confused. I would never vote for someone I had never heard of before today, regardless of gender.

Gregg Grinspan said...

Macho man liberal here---I'm wondering what kind of judgment we can take away from McCain's pick? That if he were to have himself a stroke then we'd have ourselves a woman he had picked as his VP who has no experience on the larger stage at all who would then be the President of the United States. Now that is a real smart call from the guy who wants to be Commander in Chief. Do you think he'd send her out to run the 6th Fleet if he was the Secretary of the Navy? Jesus! He's lost his mind in trying so hard to get himself elected.

Again, for any true thinking conservatives, is this the choice that will insure our safety and our ability to deal effectively with issues of security? President Palin, what's your take on the Taliban, the West Bank, the bomb that went off in San Diego? How does her hand look on the tiller? A bit shakey? And, how does she decipher which of the people whispering in her ear is intelligent and which ones are just very articulate ideologues? That might be tough for the little lady. Sounds a bit risky for a true conservative to me.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said, Uncle Randy. I think we have witnessed a turnng point in history last night. I never wished before that I were at a convention, but I sure did last night. And I began anew to beat up on myself for not being there 45 years ago.


smfargo1 said...

I enjoy reading your blog as it relates to Memphis music, and I even can find some common ground with your uber-liberal positions - but you really put your foot in your mouth with the opening paragraph in your commentary “We Overcame”.
To quote you:
“I can't understand why anyone wouldn't wish to cast their vote for him. Oh, wait a minute. Yes I can. I live in Memphis, Tennessee, where racism burns like an open flame that some recoil from, while others can't help but draw near to stoke”.
So let me get this straight. Anyone (from Memphis) who doesn’t cast their vote for Obama is doing it for racist reasons? Randy, my father taught me that issues are rarely black and white. They are “grey” more often than not - which is a metaphor for the common ground of those in the middle. Obama is a great orator. He can move and inspire with his words. John Travolta and Warren Beatty can give even better scripted speeches, so does that qualify them for the Presidency of the United States of America? I don’t think so, and neither does at least 50% of the rest of the USA.
Randy, you’ve been around the block a few times, and you know that politicians on both side of the aisle will say just about anything, and promise anything in order to get elected. Obama was wrong about the correctness of the surge in Iraq, and had we followed his advice, we would have left Iraq in shambles. It is stabilizing and now there is a window where we can leave the country in an orderly fashion – not with our tail between our legs. We have too much at stake in the ME for our allies there to view us as weak and undependable. Obama has virtually no experience in foreign affairs.
Obama’s economic plan for the USA - on the other hand - leaves little for those in the “middle ground”. His plan to raise taxes will absolutely send our economy into the toilet. I am not Republican or Democrat, and I was a big fan of Bill Clinton while he was president, but in hindsight Clinton’s economic policy was like all night drinking binge and the USA paid for it dearly starting in March of 2000 when the stock market went to hell.
Obama needs some seasoning, the kind that puts grey hair on top of the cranium. He may end up being a good President one day, just not now. If he continues to serve in Congress, and serves on a few more committees, then maybe he will be ready 8 years from now. McCain? He had better articulate a firm break from Bush’s failed energy, economic, and foriegn policies. He is going to have to compete with Obama’s line of BS.

Anonymous said...

Shep? What kind of experience does McCains woman have? Soccer mom,fisherman, oh no I remember,PTA president. Well there ya go, she's got all kinds of experience.At least she was some kind of president, but I'm not voting my "vagina",I'm gonna have to vote for someone I have at least heard of.But thanks for the ramble--- Ms.Bow

Anonymous said...

Smfargo1 has it right on! I too am an Independent, voted both Dem and Rep in the past, but I agree that Obama has an impresive nack at believable speeches, but no where close to what we need to run this country. As a matter of fact if we don't kick ALL the good ole boys and gals (D & R) out of Washington (senate, congress, & supreme court) and get some REAL folks in there, it doesn't matter who wins the election. We need to start over as Americans and I can't see that happening with the bitter battle going on between party's, dividing the country.
Pat T in Arlington

Anonymous said...

First, my hat goes off to Randy for admitting that blacks are racist, too. I don't think that I have ever heard a liberal make that confession. I think that 'Pat T' from Arlington made the most cogent statement. We need to run every politician out of Washington from both parties. That would leave only the two or three statesmen who are currently in congress. I dropped Obama after seeing the expose on his freak 'spiritual advisor' Jerry Wright and the black liberation theology that Obama has been seeped in for over 20 years. People don't seem to be aware of the dangerous implications of these revelations. If I had sat at the feet of some maniacal guru for 20 years it would most certainly affect my beliefs, my values, and my world view. Obama's lack of experience is glaring. Obama is a world-class rap artist, but I think his presidency will be a disaster. If he were a short, pudgy, blue-eyed, blonde-haired whitey with the same intelligence and the same message, Hillary would have steam-rolled him. The liberals are just determined to have a black president. And the commentators are right about McCain's soccer-mom veep selection. At least I will be honest enough to say that she has no experience and it would indeed be a freak-out if McCain died and the leadership of the free world fell on her shoulders. The behind the scenes power brokers would have to set her in the corner with a Barbie Doll while they ran the country. McCain's stupidity has assured Obama the presidency. His tax plans will wreck the economy and after things are reconstituted , we will be a full-blown socialist country...the United Socialist States of America. Maybe then the Democrats will take off their masks and call themselves what they truly are... the Socialist Party of America. Democracies are all doomed. When the populace realizes that they can vote themselves endless entitlements and that politicians will be more than happy to cooperate, the jig is up. We will move from socialism to totalitarianism and no one will figure out how this all came about.

Anonymous said...

Randy, I noticed the similiarity between your logo, which is a sickle and a musical instrument, and that of the Communist Party, which is a sickle and a hammer. Is this coincidental or done purposely? If done on purpose, are you a communist or a socialist? Do you have the courage to be 'outed'. This isn't a big deal, I am just curious.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have wondered the same thing. This is obviously a far-left blog and I have often wondered how far left it is. I wish that Randy would write a personal position paper giving an overview of his political beliefs as a frame of reference. I am hesitant to tell people that I participate for fear of being put under government surveillance for associating with subversives. Maybe I shouldn't talk though, seeing as how I am a cross between a libertarian and an anarchist. I just can't help peering into the dark mind of the far left. It reminds me of why I hate politics. But observing the far right has the same effect on me.

Anonymous said...

are you curious or yellow. or just an idiot with too much time on your hands.both of the last two comments are whats really scarey to me. you folks need to find something to do with your time.power to the people,even all ya'll assholes.

Anonymous said...

Tsk, tsk...the last commentator is obviously the product of our dumbed down public schools. He could be a candidate for poster boy to show what liberalism has done to public education. Most of the people who contribute to this blog are fairly articulate. How did he get in here?

The Watcher said...

Can someone please recommend a medication to suppress the gag reflex? The stench of what passes for American political discourse is becoming overwhelming. Watching the American political scene is akin to swimming in an ocean of donkey and elephant vomit (I'm fair and balanced, see?). It always freaks me out that intelligent people can get so worked up over such a pathetic dog and pony show (or, should I say donkey and elephant show?). The truth is the first casualty of politics, followed closely by integrity. If politicians could be replaced by statesmen who kept the best interests of the country at heart the situation might be more tolerable.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that I had Sarah Palin figured wrongly. She and McCain are going to give Obama and Biden a run for their money. You libs had better tighten your chin straps. The turn out of this election may surprise a lot of folks. It truly is a battle between substance vs. symbolism or should I say character vs. empty suited windbags.