Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Time Has Come

Last night I went to my caucus site in Hawaii to vote for Barack Obama. As a child of the 60s, political movements and especially anti-war movements have been a part of my life. I jumped on the Howard Dean wagon early on. It stymied me why people could not see the futility of the Iraq War at once. George W. Bush did not make a case for that war. Were we so desperate to strike out that any violent act on our part seemed just?

I've gone to many caucuses here; none have filled the school cafeteria. It's mainly party business with a preferential preference poll tacked on, the candidate generally decided. Occasionally a group would make a stand - Dennis Kucinich had a vocal group, Dean was already out last time - but otherwise it's an orderly event, a bit boring, picking delegates and officers for the state and county conventions. Those with vested interests showed up, the casual voter did not.

Last night had lines around the caucus sites hours before the event. Few knew the rules, that a caucus is different and usually done when everyone is seated. But with several thousand waiting, that changed quickly. Groups voted in waves and left; it was nonstop for two hours. The excitement - and not just because Obama is homegrown, few of the crowd were from Punahou, his school. There were old and young, working and not, educated and not so much. There was, in short, a complete cross section of the electorate, many registering for the first time.

That's a movement. Chuck Todd, the NBC political reporter has some interesting insights into this race. But he wasn't in that room, he didn't see people who had little in common except their realization that this country deserves better than the same junk they've been fed. He didn't see two thousand people squished into a cafeteria to make their voice heard, not for the measly 20 delegates we get, but because they wanted to matter.

Hillary Clinton is losing because as the kids used to say, she's so five minutes ago. She's running her husband's campaign all over - hey, it worked once. Loyalty to the Clintons is everything, it trumps even common sense. As the underdog - as they were in '92, it's easy to take risks. No longer. She took no risk. She played it by the numbers. And tried to maneuver after the tidal wave came ashore.

Barrack Obama is on fire. I'm sure Clinton will get down and dirty - we ain't seen nothin' yet - to salvage what she's grown to believe was hers. She put all the pieces into play, the establishment Dems, and took the voters for granted. As they say in Hollywood, she began to believe her own press.

It's a new century. We deserve a new leader.

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