You know people whose entire home decor is based on Native American/Indian themes. Admit it. Livin' in the heartland, I sure do.
What do you see when you go over to their house? Rugs and wall hangings, vases, statuettes of white wolves, buffalo, Indian princesses, lots of leather and wood furniture and - of course - eagle feathers or feathers meant to look like eagle feathers. And some sage hanging in a bunch on the wall.
Not my first choice in home decor. It's a look that can be exquisite or kitschy or just plain ugly. But it's telling about how, in our America, people - usually white - feel disconnected from their own culture and adopt themselves into another. To feel more like an American and feel more connected to the Earth, what's a white boy or girl gonna do? Be an Indian.*
Now Obama is an Indian. For real. He has been adopted by the Crow and his new name is Barack Black Eagle! Though the story isn't specific about the how, he is also named "One Who Helps People Throughout the Land."
What's really cool about this is not the name, though that's admittedly pretty cool. It's the reaching out to a set of voters that have been totally ignored, for decades, by Democrats and Republicans alike. This is the new kind of political map Obama is drawing, pushing the lines in completely different directions. Screw Blue and Red states and even Purple. His campaign is about changing all of that. That's why he's won so big in states that don't normally go Democratic. That's what Clinton doesn't get (or does but is afraid to admit). Clinton and McCain want to play by the Old Rules but Obama has decided to throw them out the window. He's rewriting the rules as he goes, based on an extremely well thought out plan.
The lesson for today: Do not underestimate the Black Eagle!
* I don't think the term "Indian" is derogatory. One of my best friends as a boy was an Indian. (Hi, Craig!) I know some Indians call themselves such and think that "Native American" is actually the pejorative as it delegates them to some kind of revered but inconsequential status. It's a blow off, in other words. Correct me if you think I'm wrong. (Hey - it ain't called the "American Native American Movement," is it?)
Note: I had to use the Crying Indian picture, a child of my times as I am, even though he was really Italian.
'Nother Note: Regarding home decor. I contrast two different homes in my head when I think of this style. One was a neighbor. If it had an Indian theme and could be bought at a dollar store, it was in their home. I didn't care for it, but it was their home. We get bug-eyed glances when people come into our house, I can assure you. (Not too many people have a framed movie poster for Soylent Green in their living room. And the books! How people stare at the books!) The other was my buddy Mike's place. I call it "Native Minimalist" - it was lovely. White walls and simple touches of Indian art or artifacts, combined with other historical "things" and usually at least one beautiful guitar. That I liked. Plus, the beer was always cold. And the grill was always just a splash of gasoline from ready.