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A Dream Realized

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

There is so much to write about now. My mind is spinning with so much to say and write. My writer's block has been overcome by the tsunami of joy that has rained down over me. But for the moment while I collect my thoughts let me utter the words aloud as I type them:

To all the world, I present to you Barack Obama:

The 44th President of the United States

August 28th, 1968 in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Wahington D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses the nation:

"I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able
to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true."

Down To The Wire

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Well here we are a little more than 36 hours before the polls in Kentucky close and award the first Electoral College votes of the evening. Since the conventions I have found myself almost unable to post anything about the election this year after obsessing over it for the past four years. I had simply lapsed into a writer’s block mode as I opted instead to obsessively follow the state of the race on a variety of blogs on a daily basis. Now with a little more than a day and a half left to go I feel some kind of release to actually post.

So let me start with my prediction which is at this point driven by paranoia and fear tilting me to the most conservatively optimistic one I can conjure:
I actually believe Florida will slip out of Obama’s grasp. Even with McCain lacking a ground game here in the face of an Obama’s statewide juggernaut GOTV effort it won’t be enough. I had hopes a couple of weeks ago of him being in a position to steal Indiana, North Carolina and Georgia from their red state purgatory. Now I realize it just won’t happen. At one point I was even looking forward to Obama a position to crush this most vile version of Republicanism that has been mutating over the past 28 years into a party that preys on fear and paranoia justifying questions about one’s patriotism and whether certain parts of the country is included in a “real” America.

In these last hours I feel like Obama will still win but only barely. The last time I felt confident and sure of victory was in 1992 and 1996. Those were the only two times I have able to experience that feeling in my voting lifetime. As late as two weeks ago I had that same feeling now as I did in 1992. But with the new world of the Internet and polling technology being open to public scrutiny that has all changed the dynamic for me. I’m back to the hand wringing state I was before the primaries began in January. Even now that seems like a century ago. That’s how weird this dynamic is for me in this world of immediate information and hourly news cycles.

For me I can’t imagine a world where the American electorate would allow Sarah Palin so close to the reins of power. Yet, this is the same electorate that allowed an intellectually challenged and ideologically driven Governor from Texas to keep the reins of power in 2004. With that in mind I should not be surprised how close someone like Sarah Palin is to the reins of power. My memories of election nights gone past are mostly filled with vivid pain and disappointment that has seared them into my conscience as I tend to invest so much emotion into our national political outcomes.

I can still remember that horrible night in 1984 when I was living in North Carolina and driving home from an election watch party on a long and dark highway in the rural Piedmont area. Though intellectually I knew Mondale would be crushed Reagan once he overcame Gary Hart to sew up the nomination I had not realized how devastating it would still be. It can almost be compared to an immediate family member being on a long arc downward of a terminal illness that everyone knows what the final result will be and yet still be devastated once the moment arrives. As I drove home that night on that long lonely road after months of working on the Mondale and Gov. Hunt campaign where he unsuccessfully tried to unseat a racist Sen. Jesse Helms the emotions of it all finally overcame my cool and politically astute intellect. I realized what was happening and I pulled over to the side of the road and wept. As I sat there I couldn’t believe I was feeling this way but there it was.

It was more about the future than the election itself that horrible night. I realized with that win the Republicans had staked out a generational claim on the White House. I knew the country would eventually take a turn backwards toward a baser common denomination of the electorate and appeal to its fears, paranoia and prejudices culminating in someone like George W. Bush taking the reins of government and actually acting on them driving the United States into an intellectually dark period.
Now here we are within 36 hours to right that ship and I’m still not sure we will chose the correct path that will lead us into a new age of reason and intellectual honesty and instead keep allowing our base and dark emotional side of the body politic to decide our path to the future.

I find myself now realizing that if the aggregate persona that has been culminating over the past 28 years in the form of one George W. Bush cannot be overcome now with a financial disaster literally falling around us I can’t see another Democrat in the White House in what is left in my lifetime. The realignment or electoral shift will not be possible within the next two generations. Here’s hoping our body politic will let the better angels of our psyche prevail for the sake of my 2 ½ year old daughter.