Thursday, August 28, 2008
You may count me among the jillions of bloggers who saw Barack Obama’s nomination acceptance speech tonight and had their eyes glaze over, but not from the usual ennui which occurs while watching candidates for public office speak on TV. No, this time it was a magnificent case of not believing what I’m seeing.
African-Americans have held federal office since the late 19th century. But the idea of one getting this close to the presidency, and actually having a fair shot at it has, to say the least, blown this observer’s mind. When I was a kid (a very considerable period of time after the late 19th century), my country was only beginning to get that African-Americans were human beings and ought to be treated like them. Whatever you might think of Senator Obama’s politics, there’s no denying the trail blazed by those who came before and the barriers he himself has crashed through. Racial politics in America will never be the same.
For the record, I intend to vote for Senator Obama. I know better than to think he or any candidate is a knight in shining armor. But I definitely expect better from him than from his rival, Senator John McCain, who, far from being the second coming of George W. Bush is actually far more dangerous. When Ronald Reagan made his infamous “bombing in five minutes” wisecrack in 1984, it was meant as a private joke. He didn’t know he was being recorded. When Senator McCain nonchalantly made light of the idea of attacking Iran by parodying a Beach Boys tune, he did it in front of a roomful of supporters and reporters.
Senator Obama’s got charisma. He’s got class. He’s articulate, smart and as he’s proven by his rise to Democratic presidential nominee, he knows how to get things done. And if he’s elected president, as I hope he is, he will have made history twice.