Friday, January 4, 2008

The Race is On

So the big news is Obama’s win in Iowa. Hillary came in third in a race that probably eliminated John Edwards even though he won the bronze.

Is it really such a big win for Obama, or just a bump in Hillary’s road? Being an Iowan émigré myself, I see the win as amazing. A lot of water has gone over the dam since I was a boy in the northern part of that northern state, but I doubt that all of what I saw there is gone, and I can vouch for the depth and strength of the racial prejudice that existed while I grew up.

I recall one spring day when the first black people ever to visit that little town came to visit. As it was, the daughter of a man up the street had an inter-racial marriage and I found myself appalled and ashamed of my classmates who ran into the street screaming “Get out of here, nigger.” when one of her sons about our age came riding by on a bicycle. I’m sure he never encountered any worse abuse in Memphis. I had at least two scoutmasters who used that word like salt and pepper in the course of conversation, and both sympathy and empathy were scarce as hen’s teeth while Dr. King led his marches through the south.

Last night’s vote made me proud of my Iowan roots, though I’m not sure whether racism has died or just runs second to chauvinism, but at any rate, Iowa spoke loudly and clearly, and – given that the Republican side benefited from that state’s evangelism – I will have to say that the evidence of this vote for me is that race is no longer an issue there. Congratulations, Iowa.

So where do we go from here? One of the most encouraging signs for me was that Obama brought out a large number of young voters. If he can continue to do that and score high marks in his race against Hillary, he will win the nomination. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see America once again energized through the belief of its youth in a young, forward looking leader!

Surely, at the least, his presidency could help to heal the divisiveness under which this country now suffers. As John Edwards said, “Status quo lost and change won.” HALLELUJAH!!

It saddens me to see Edwards sinking, though, because I am a populist and he at least held himself up as one. He is certainly the little guy in a race with some very wealthy giants.

I understand that people seem to see themselves as incapable of doing “it” on their own and so keep looking to powerful people who say they will lead them to the promised land. Sadly, they are always just leading them on, and since Ike’s days have consistently done so with the goal of enriching the richest at the center of their ambitions.

I never believed in Ronald Reagan’s trickle down theory because:

The only things that trickle down,
Come in yellow . . . or in brown.

As my wonderfully wise wife says, “Give a rich man a dollar and a poor man might end up with a nickel. Give a poor man a dollar and before long the rich man will have ninety cents.” Like her, I prefer the fly up theory to the trickle down theory and I have a hard time understanding why the man on the street – even the Republican on the street – can’t see the wisdom in that.

All in all, I don’t think you could make me any happier this year than if you told me that we would have an Obama/Edwards ticket to vote for in November, so I will be pushing in that direction. Whatever direction you believe in, go to work for it, and I hope you learn and grow from the experience but if it’s a different direction from mine, I won’t be rooting for you!! As my favorite announcer used to say, “It’s a beautiful day in Chicago, and I don’t care who wins – as long as it’s the Cubs!”

So, as you can see, I have always tended to back somebody besides the winner. This time I sure hope that changes.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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