Thursday, August 28, 2008

What If?

It finally happened last night. For the first time in the history of the United States of America, a black man has become the official nominee for President of a major political party.

Damn. Wow. Damn.

I'm actually very emotional about this. We sat and watched the nominating process, and listened to all of the excruciating boosterism from each state, waiting for Illinois. We wanted to see if we could spot a friend of ours in the delegation. Maybe, just maybe, for a second we saw the top of her head. But then Illinois passed on their vote and finally didn't even give it so that Hillary could wind it up.

One thing we did see was a young black man on the convention floor with tears streaming down his face after the nomination was confirmed. His friends were hugging him and he looked torn between a million emotions. There was joy and so much more expressed on his face. Hundreds of years of history. I was hoping that image would be on the front page of every newspaper in the nation today. Probably isn't, but at least I got to see it.

The irony of last night was that it wasn't the Republicans nominating the first black man for President but the Dems. The party of Lincoln should be the party doing this by all rights. This is their true legacy and heritage. It's very sad to me that they are not. And we can all try to say that none of this, this election season, this hunting season, is about race, though I haven't always been saying that, but it really is. And the nastiness about it has just begun.

Today though, I'm personally focusing on the positive. (In my own way). It's the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream speech" and this summer on our Big Trip we went to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Here's the outside of the motel:

I wrote a bit about visiting this before, but I'd like to revisit that memory for a second.

Walking up to the motel, now the Civil Rights Museum, I was almost scared. I'd seen that hotel a thousand times before in pictures, my whole life. And I'd especially seen that balcony with its weird squared design and that innocuous white motel room door. I think of King and I always think of him standing there. I think of the potential America and the world lost there. I can't help myself, but I always cry. Not for the first time on this blog, I'm doing that again. So much energy was wasted in a split second, so much taken away. This is burned in my heart, the loss of that one moment.

I've always felt that a vast sea change in American politics and life was subverted on that day and that we've been floundering in the foam and muck and detritus of it ever since. It's probably asinine, at best, to play this kind of game with history, but I can't help it. The historian and the science fictioneer in me are at war a lot of the time, but one question they both ask is "What if?"

I'm asking myself that today. "What if...?" There's a lot of questions that can be hung on the end of those two words. I'll leave that for you.

Have a good day, people, a very good day.

Now playing: The Long Ryders - I Don't Care What's Right, I Don't Care What's Wrong
via FoxyTunes


Nazz Nomad said...

1/3 of Hillary supporters claim that they will not vote for Obama? WTF? Do they think that McCain is going to be a better President for their interests than Obama would?

This country deserves the next four next years of shit if they elect McCain.

Anonymous said...

If MLK’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech had been fulfilled it wouldn’t matter what the colour of Barak’s skin is.

It’s great that America looks like it’s about to get a black man as president. But you still have a million miles to go in terms of race and equality. Enjoy the moment when it comes. But remember there is still a long road to travel.

Anonymous said...

This evening on "The O'Reilly Factor" Obama said:

The Islamic republic is a “major threat” and it would be “unacceptable” for the rogue nation to develop a nuclear weapon, he said.

“It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon, it would be a game changer,” Obama said. “It’s sufficient to say I would not take military action off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force in order to protect the homeland and the United States’ interests.

gomonkeygo said...

Yeah. Okay. What's the point? Sorry, but I don't follow.

I personally wouldn't expect anything less from a President than to have such an opinion when it comes to protecting our country.

Is this quote meant to imply something? That Obama is flip-flopping? It doesn't work if that's the game. I know his detractors go batshit crazy pigfuckin' insane over the idea of ever talking to our enemies, a grand American political tradition that has probably saved more American lives than any of our military ventures abroad, but Obama has never precluded using our military to keep us safe. He'd be an idiot if he had and he wouldn't have my vote at all.

Remember "Speak softly and carry a big stick"? That's a damn fine motto and it's one we should bear in mind far more often.

If you have a reason other than this, please explain. Seriously. You've got my catlike curiosity all a twitch.