Saturday, January 26, 2008

OBAMA RAMA - Obama Wins South Carolina

I could kiss South Carolina, everyone in it right now. Logistics aside, I have never seen a state or an electorate take the reins so firmly. By trouncing the Clinton trash and bash machine, across all age and ethnicity, they have resoundingly said, we really can take our country back. We, as voters, matter. We are not fodder for manipulation and smear.

I just listened to Barack Obama's victory speech. I have heard a zillion or so political speeches in my life; I've been actively involved in politics since college, and worked on many campaigns, my first one was for Jerry Brown in his first quest for California governor. We were a mostly young group, smart and arguably the first wave of baby boomers in action. We had hope, and lots of dreams.

Then it went still. I dunno, maybe we were raising the kids, chasing promotions, still inhaling, and sort of figured the world would come out the way we wanted it do. Basically, we fell asleep at the switch, as we did our yoga and recycled, ate our organic food and focused on a better us and raising free spirited and brilliant children.

We got through Reagan; after all he was so upbeat even though a bit suspicious with his governing policy. But oh well, Carter came along, and we'd brought the Civil Rights movement into focus. Change was still out there, chugging along, as our society integrated, if not exactly well at least forward. The government as a whole, worked. Or at least enough that we could get on with our lives.

Then we met George W. Bush. His father was a bit of a dud but he was soon out. The Clintons brought lots of promise, they looked and tasted just like us. Except while there was a lot to like, and it was an energetic time, at the end of the party, when everyone went home, you were left with an unease, that maybe the fun they brought, and the energy were not quite, well, nice. Sure, running a country isn't a church bazaar but still, we're the only superpower, can't we have some class about it?

While we were pondering this sense of discomfort, the Republicans went after them with such vitriol we were forced to defend him. Like your pesky younger sibling that you get to beat up on, but you'll beat the crap out of anyone else who tries. And here's the ultimate trick, and frankly it's a page out of al Qaeda or any other gang that wants to commit crimes - put the attention on some hot button issue while you're off somewhere else setting the real crime in motion. Obfuscation, diversion, simple and effective. The Republicans went after the Clintons with such ferocity that we didn't notice they were setting up shop in evangelical churches and priming the conservative pump for the next election. They had already cleaned up the ex-prez's drunk son, painting him with Christian creds and putting the entire party behind their anointed heir apparent: a brother in Florida had his marching orders to tinker with the democratic election lists, move polling places, promise the election commissioner riches to come if she played stupid. Didn't seem much of a stretch and off they went.

It worked. We got Bush fils. His father had class and decades of public service. You could disagree with him without raging against him. He had some common sense. But it all changed when he lost to the Clintons. War was declared on them. No wonder W found his own war, when he checked in more or less sober for probably the first time in his life, that's what he saw. A rich boy who had been bailed out all his life by daddy now had the most powerful post in the land. Oh my that must have felt good, stick it to the old man he could never best. As it happened, he too was in danger of having only one term due to his ennui and then planes went into New York skyscrapers. The military industrial complex had found a kindred spirit.

Republican hatred infiltrated the Clintons, for what was done to them. And so Hillary began to run. They spent a lot of time writing books, building the democratic machine. If they Repubs were nasty, they would be nastier. They would build a bigger and better machine, same song different verse.

Well, all I really want to say is, THANK YOU SOUTH CAROLINA, YA DONE GOOD! You did exactly what you were supposed to do and with a whole lot of class. We still don't know how Super Tuesday will play out, or the ultimate outcome, but for now we can all feel proud of being American.

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