Sunday, June 8, 2008

Glass ceiling no more

Well, I have to admit that Hilary Clinton made me a believer.  I don't like the woman.  I don't like the Clintons.  But I admire her pluck, her aplomb, and her gutsiness.  She has changed my paradigm.  Before her campaign started 2 years ago (or maybe 5 years ago :-) I said to numerous people that we were not ready for a woman president.  We clearly are.  It was not this woman, but if the right one were to come along, I think America is ready to embrace one.

As for Barack Obama, it was interesting to note, as Tim Russert did today on Meet the Press, that Bobby Kennedy, another hope-giver, stated that "within 40 years" we might have a black president.  He said that in 1968.  Pretty prescient, no?

Over the weekend, the Huffington Post had a lead that read "Obama's 50 state strategy."  I'm not quite sure what he has in store, but in the genius revealed by his betting big on caucus states to win delegates instead of winning popular votes in the big states, don't expect any big reveals from his campaign anytime soon.

As for veep ruminations, I agree with what Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star said in a talk he gave at the Plaza Library a couple months back: it will not be Kathleen Sibelius.  She brings no foreign policy experience to a ticket desperately in need of it.  And really, a black man and a white woman at the same time?  Be prudent about change.  Americans will change if you don't put it in their face.  I still think Bill Richardson is the dark horse here.  Evan Bayh brings disaffected Hilary voters, as does Governor Strickland from Ohio.  I don't think Ohio is going to be "the" state.  Though I can heartily recommend the documentary "So goes the nation..." about the 2004 election, I don't think it's going to be all about one state this time.  

To that end, has some projections with a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College, which sends the vote to the House of Representatives, where each state has only one vote.  Yikes.  That could make 2000 look like a clown show.

In a conversation with my die-hard Republican friend Brian this weekend, I made the point McCain does not turn out the base of the Republican party, which delivered in 2000 and 2004.  "He's open borders, pro-NAFTA, and against water-boarding, all sine qua nons for the right."  Brian countered with "Yes, but he has legislation out there with his name on it that actually documents he's for change."  "Yes, change like trampling our free speech (Campaign Finance - McCain/Feingold)." "I despise that bill," Brian admitted.  

Look, just having your names on bills doesn't make you somebody who excites the base, and he's already disowned one of his two evangelical nominations. 

If you're wondering what the right is thinking, look no further than arch-conservative Bay Buchanan.  She says this race is Obama's to lose.

I don't think this is going to be a battle.  I think in the next few months it's going to devolve into a total landslide victory for someone - it could go either way.  I think that the economy is perceived as terrible, the public has lost its will in Iraq (if it ever had it, which I don't think it did), and the country is historically ready for something radically different.  It's what 1968 would have been if Bobby had lived.

As an homage to that man who might have changed everything, who died 40 years ago this week, here is the end of his speech given the night we had MLK stolen from us too:

Ladies and Gentlemen - I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because...

I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black - considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible - you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization - black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

(Interrupted by applause)

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love - a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

(Interrupted by applause)

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

1 comment:

balijecello said...

hey stephen :) suprise suprise. urm HI! it's Melissa Lee, your cousin! Well my mom told me your URL, so thought i'd drop by. I've never met you, and i hope one day i'll get to.

i've got 2 sites. (mine)
www.balijecello.blogspot. (shared with a friend)

i hope to hear from you soon. :) take care and Godbless.