Tag Archives: politics

Thank you, America

[I expect I’ll have a more coherent response to this at some point but for now I just need to get this out.]

Every day we live through history. Every day we see things which haven’t happened before and which may never happen again. Things which simply haven’t happened for a long time. And we’ve never been alive as long as we have right now.

But that history is fleeting. Local. Personal. While some of it may end up in a drab textbook our grandkids must read , most of it will disappear into the vast maw of the mundane.

Not tonight.

This moment will live on for generations. It will affect how we see the world, and how the world sees us. We will remember it like we do the Challenger explosion; or the way our parents remember the Kennedy and King assassinations; the way we now remember the September 11 attacks: We lived through it together, and it immediately became part of our collective history. All of us recognized the moments as important. A few saw them as historical. Either way, we knew those moments would be talked about forever as cultural touchstones: “Where were you when…?”

But this moment has one huge difference: As I recognize the impact of it, I realize that for the first time in my life, I’m experiencing history that is positive. History I’ll recall with joy, not sorrow. History that makes me swell with pride, not cringe in sadness.

President Obama.

In just eleven weeks, I will be saying those words.

One day, my great grandkids will be reading those words, as part of this country’s new history.

They won’t recognize the meaning of it. He will be just another president—and this will be just another moment—they have to learn about, along with Washington and Lincoln; King and September 11. And they won’t understand why it meant so much to this country.

But I will.

Thank you, America.

Fascinated by McCain VP choice

I find myself unable to completely fathom Senator McCain’s choice of Sara Palin for Vice President. Earlier I suggested that McCain was supremely confident in his chances to win in November. After thinking this through, having the initial shock subside, and reading more about Governor Palin, I’m changing my mind.

I can’t imagine that McCain honestly believes selecting a running mate with less than two years’ experience as Governor of a state with the third lowest population in the country is the way to get elected. Palin would be a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land—and a 72-year-old heartbeat at that; is Palin really ready to be President should the unfortunate happen? 

Maybe McCain is scared witless, or throwing the election.

Perhaps he feels he can’t possibly win. The Electoral College map is breaking in Obama’s favor, and the Democratic party finally seems to have united behind their candidate. If he can’t win, he wants to at least go down in history as the presidential candidate who put the first woman on a Republican ticket.

Or perhaps McCain realizes that, at 72, he doesn’t really want to be President. He can’t just quit, so he choses someone so woefully under-qualified that no one could legitimately vote for them. After all, the very charges McCain has been leveling at Obama are can now be brought against Palin. If you shouldn’t vote for Obama because he’s “dangerously unprepared”, how do you vote for Palin?

There’s one more possibility. Palin is completely untested on the national stage. We don’t know how she’ll handle the pressure, or what skeletons might be in her closet. Could this be a total red herring? A political flea-flicker? Could they be planning to enjoy the media bounce from choosing Palin, only to have her step down just before the elections “for personal reasons”, and then bring in their “real” choice?

Of course, perhaps I give too much credit to McCain; perhaps he truly believes this selection is the way to victory. Nothing surprises me anymore.

McCain’s VP pick: Confident?

Just a day after Barack Obama accepted his historic nomination for President of the United States, John McCain shocked the world by selecting Sara Palin as his running mate.

By now, if you care you’ve already read all about her, and if you’re like me, you’re left with dueling impressions: on the one hand, wow, what a bold, out-of-the-box, dare I say maverick choice. And yet, on the other, seriously? After leveling charges of inexperience against your opponent, you select someone who has less experience on the world stage?

What this tells me is McCain is supremely confident in his chances to win the presidency. He’s basically saying that even with a complete unknown as his running mate, he can defeat Obama and Biden in November.

Either McCain believes the American people really can’t bring themselves to vote in large enough numbers for Obama, or there’s some kind of October Surprise planned that will completely derail Obama’s candidacy. Palin is certainly not the most prudent pick.

Whatever the reason (including the possibility that Palin is one of the best political minds in the country), McCain has successfully retaken the news cycle. People have already forgotten about yesterday’s historical event.

Well played Senator McCain.

What will be fascinating is to see how the Democrats choose to answer this challenge. Accusations of sexism were already leveled by the Clinton camp as one reason for her loss. Will the public, media and Democrats go easy on Palin because she’s a women, fearing such continued charges? Will Biden attack her as viciously as you would expect him to do against an established male Washington insider? Heck, does she have the experience and knowledge to effectively debate Biden on the issues?

The elections just became a bit more interesting.

An historic night in America

Tonight, for the first time in the history of this country, a Black man accepted the nomination of a major political party for the presidency of the United States of America.

I don’t have anything insightful to say, I just marvel at the achievement, one hundred and forty-five years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and forty-three years after the Voting Rights Act.

I regret that eighteen months ago, when Barack Obama first decided to run for President, I didn’t become a citizen, because I didn’t think he would even get this far. I once said

I would love to see Obama run, and be elected, President of the United States. I’m just not sure the country’s ready to agree with me.

Regardless of what happens on Election Day,  it’s clear that today, a large number of Americans are willing to put aside issues of race and vote for a man who inspires hope and appeals to our best nature.

Congratulations to Barack Obama.