I hardly ever do political posts. The last time I went on at any length about politics was way back here. That was a bit ranty. This is even worse, it’s a bit ravey. Sorry ’bout that. I’ve posted a few incidental, political, spitty-spitty phthoo-phthoo paragraphs here and there on PCB – not many at all really considering I follow it all quite closely and sprinkle my political views around people’s comment boxes all the damn time – but every now and then I feel the desire to blog it out.
I’ve just watched Barack Obama deliver his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for president. He’s the first black man in American history to win, win the nomination of a major party. This was not an appointed position, Secretary of State or Attorney General or such. He won the right to run after a long, hard campaign in which he consistently took the moral high ground and did not compromise his integrity.
Tonight his speech was not about his being an historic candidate though. It was hardly even about him being black. It was about America rebecoming the country the Founding Fathers envisioned. Obama is not merely an outstanding black candidate, he is an outstanding candidate, – he truly makes race not matter. If it is true that any minority candidate must be twice as good as any white male candidate then he is four times as good. He is an extraordinary person.
The speech was brilliant. He was subtle, he was strong, he attacked but did not slur. He said there was no one party more patriotic than another so quit that crap, Rove tacticians. He set a noble, high-minded but also very muscular and practical tone, and laid out 29 strong policy differences between he and McCain. He turned McCain’s perceived strengths and particular attacks back on him and ended up sounding by far the more honest candidate. He has single-handedly managed to raise the tone of American politics and be successful and sincere doing it – something I reckon most of us thought was nigh on impossible nowadays. His wife has that same deeply intelligent, articulate, measured and compassionate sense about her and, while I know this is politics after all and how politicians are wont let us down badly, I really, really find myself believing in these people in a way I thought I was much much too jaded to be able to. It seems very unlike me to be gushy about any politician and I am having a hard time recognizing myself.
Following that speech tonight, any of the usual attacks from McCain next week when he accepts the Republican nomination are going to look, petty, pathetic and desperate.
Obama is the American Dream incarnate. Not the trite, corn-ball, white-picket-fence dream I was encouraged growing up to think America was all about, but the old, original American Dream that anybody – even the black son of a single mother – willing to work, and given the right tools and encouragement can fulfill their personal dreams while at the same time increasing the common good. He has resurrected that second part. He declared old style models of trickle down economics and the “ownership society” as just no longer workable in these changing, globalizing times and that our personal “I’m alright, Jack, you’re on your own” hangover attitudes towards each other from the Reagan years must yield to a bit of collective purpose. Obvious, for sure, but not common from the mouth of such a high level politician. He called for a country where we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers, not in terms of personal, governmental or lifestyle intrusions but in terms of keeping us all economically and morally robust and accountable to each other.
While he used the language of hope, he didn’t sugar-coat any of it but called for serious, hard work, both individually and collectively to get stuff done. He invoked the generation of the Depression, his grandparent’s (“who were no whiners”) generation, when describing how the huge problems of the day require us all to pull together with hope and a common purpose to reach progress and better times in a socially and morally responsible way. And he was specific about how we can do that, outlining his plan for energy-independence from the Middle-East in ten years and an unprecedentedly huge investment in other energy sources, admitting that some of them would fail but, like in the development of any new technology, we have to go through that before we learn how to succeed with it. He called for a big election to be about big issues, not small wedge issues like in the last two elections, because the times are just too serious for that and the stakes too high.
Obama has changed minds by inspiring people, not frightening them and by talking to us like we’re adults, not children who need complex problems dumbed down for us. He does not pretend all will be perfect for everybody or that government is a panacea for all society’s ills but that we need a clear change in direction and in what we value as a society. He can admit his opponent is a good brave man who loves his country but says McCain just does not get the changes going on with the country economically, socially, temperamentally and globally. and he makes a damn good case in saying so, using McCain’s own record as proof.
I’ve listened to many political speeches and I am nothing if not a cynical European when it comes to American campaign hoopla, especially the cheesy rhetoric, but I cannot recall being so energized, inspired and excited by any candidate before, anywhere.
Obama is the man for these times. History is always ready to make fools of people who feel as convinced as I do about a poli-afterblinkin’all-tician but, despite myself, I really believe that to be true. I’ll be gutted for haggis if he doesn’t win in November.
Been a bit busy lately and looks like it’ll continue through the end of next week. Prolly be around but not as much. Somebody asked but I’m not going off blogging. Not at all, I still love it. Especially because myself and the fabulous Devin have been invited to Ireland in February to watch the Irish blog awards again! And in October I’m going to meet a whole bunch of amazing sketch-bloggers and artist friends of the truly incomparable Crackskullbob!
I feckin’ love blogging!