Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Only in America

Just a few thoughts about tonight.

  • Tonight, the general election for America's next president began, and one of the two men chosen to represent their parties in that race is a black man. I don't want to overstate that fact - if Barack Obama looked like John Edwards or John McCain or John Candy I would be just as excited - but I don't want to understate it, either. A black man has a better-than-even chance of being the next American president. And he got there not by being a black man, and he got there not in spite of being a black man. He got there, and he's a black man. Historically significant for a host of reasons, one of which happens to be that he's black. He didn't win by insinuating that America owes it to its black citizens to vote for him. He didn't win by playing on our collective guilt or by rallying his "black troops" or by capitalizing on racial polarization. (Contrast: a certain woman who banked quite a bit on the one-dimensionally historic nature of her candidacy.) It's worth pausing and remembering the history that has brought us to this point, the significance of his race. And then it's worth moving on and observing that, above and beyond his race, this is an important day in American history.

  • Hillary Clinton still isn't giving up. She still can't get it through her head that nepotism and dynasty and selfishness are not American values. If she was an actress and wanted to put on a one-woman show to symbolize and portray what Barack Obama means when he talks about the "politics of the past," she couldn't have done a better job than she did in her speech tonight. In the past, being a good Democrat meant having an ax to grind, having a list of slights and fights and grievances to fight over. In the past, being a successful Democratic candidate meant rallying your angry troops to take on that fight. We're all sick of fighting - all of us except those people in New York City tonight chanting "Denver! Denver!" This is not going to Denver. This is over.

  • Hillary Clinton thinks she is the boss. She is demanding a private meeting with Obama to talk about the vice presidential nomination. She wants this story to be all about her, even as she has now become a historical footnote.

  • Most importantly, we now have a presidential race the outcome of which will, no matter what, result in a president who recognizes that torture is not a tactic America embraces. We have one candidate who lived through torture as a prisoner of war and who has seen how it belittles its victims and its perpetrators. And we have another candidate who instinctively understands that America is great because she is good, and when American ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. And, regardless of the outcome of this race, our next president will be a man who acknowledges the threat of global warming and who wants to tackle it.

  • America remains the best country in the history of mankind.


Jacelle said...

As always...your singin my song Dougy....singin my song...

amelia said...

And as always, you write some pretty poetic thoughts on politics that give me hope for our country.