Democrats & Liberals Archives

Nineteen and Twenty

January 19th will see us honor the man who helped force America to honor it’s commitments on civil rights, and the following day will see that commitment to equality bear it’s greatest fruits to date. To me, it is truly a positive sign that we’re doing more in this country than talking the talk of freedom and equality; we’re walking the walk.

The most destructive prejudice in a given situation isn't always the one that has a person putting on a KKK hat and burning a cross on someone's lawn. Sometimes it's an unmotivated, habitual tendency to undervalue the capabilities and talents of those who have a certain appearance and culture.

I think it's something in this culture we're on our way to forgetting, just like we've forgotten many once important distinctions between what we used to call "races". People used to talk about the Irish race, the Italian race, the German Race. People used to think a lot about these ethnic separations, formed whole theories around why they were the case.

When it came down to it, though, cultures evolve, and the culture of these "races" evolved into a composite culture, not entirely like any of the consituents that came before, and bound even then to keep developing in its own direction.

And the same is happening as racial barriers become substantially more tenuous, and the old saws about what is and isn't possible, is and isn't likely, become worn out.

Multiculturalism isn't a choice as much as its a reality. But what really happens isn't that the cultures stay forever frozen as they were upon import; no, the features of each culture become interwoven.

Barack Obama is nothing so simplistic as a product of the culture that Martin Luther King knew. He's more than that. He represents a person who came from so many conflicting influences, that in the end he had to make the choices of who he was and who he would be for himself, rather than simply exist as the product of some native culture. And isn't that the idea of America?

As a typical Northern European, with plenty of the British Isles in me, my ancestry stretches back pretty far into America's past. It used to be that you had to have something of the pedigree I had to get anywhere. Once, even my Irish blood, though, would have raised questions. The promise of freedom was made with plenty of informal and formal exceptions, and people like me jealously guarded the high status of our ethnic group.

Now, so much of that has fallen away, and in the space of only a few years, a nation once thought guaranteed to vote in older white guys for the forseeable future has elected a chief executive whose very existence would have been suspect to a large number of his party's members when he was born.

Between the 19th and 20th, we will see the bridge between the history once made, and the history now in the making, and the ongoing experiment and melting pot that is America continues to produce it's strong alloy of cultures, races, and idea, that has again and again surprised the rest of the world in its ability to transcend the human failings and clay feet of its people. America is not perfect, and never will be, but that doesn't mean we are not an extraordinary nation, nor does it meant we can't be a catalyst for positive change in the rest of the world. We have lead the way in changing the world so many times. It is good to lead the way here once again.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 16, 2009 9:15 PM
Comments
Comment #273720

Stephen,

Yeah, I agree…but I do have one reservation…a tiny, little-bitty reservation…not about the President Elect, but about the media and the American people. It is still a constant thing to hear about America’s first BLACK president. I was hoping by now we’d be hearing more about America’s next GOOD president. I’ll get over it of course, but it reminds me that we still have a long way to go.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2009 7:02 AM
Comment #273731

I always thought that the first black president would be a conservative. If Colin Powell had run against Clinton in 92, we would have had a black president sixteen years ago. In that sense, the election of Obama is insignificant. The left views this election as a milestone because we have elected a minority candidate. I view it as a disaster because the liberal media has made race the only lens through which we view the signifigance of this election. If Powell had been elected, the media would have portrayed him as a puppet, unworthy of the signifigance we now bestow on Obama.

Obama is already making disasterous decisions, and we will live with the consequences (massive debt and growth of the federal government) for decades.

Posted by: John Howell at January 17, 2009 1:36 PM
Comment #273735

John, I think you’re wrong on all counts. “If wishes were horses…..” Powell wasn’t, and didn’t and Clinton was the one to win quite handily.
To consider Obama a “minority” candidate is only a reflection of what appears as a personal opinion, and the ultimate election results denies it.
I believe that the majority of the voters, representing a majority of the country, did what we collectively felt was needed at this point in time. Obama is most definitely not a “token”, but a man man respected, admired, and yes, awed by some. He has the attention of the entire world, a great portion of which seems to feel the same way about him as we do. He can only take us one way, and that is back UP…
Dude, I understand what you’re saying, and I truly feel that once the newness wears off and he has some decisions under his belt, we will be praising our “good” President. The “white” half of him doesn’t seem to object to sharing the spotlight right now… ;)

Posted by: janedoe at January 17, 2009 2:53 PM
Comment #273749

Marysdude-
That would be the best outcome, no doubt. I want Obama to be such a great president that people just relax about things like skin color, gender, weird names and things like that.

We certainly need, for both fairness and efficiency’s sake, to do away with distinctions of qualification that aren’t color blind.

John Howell-
Wait on the question of what decisions are disastrous until after they have actual consequences. Future hypotheticals have this bad habit of being inherently counterfactual.

Case in point: the promises and predictions of Republicans throughout the Bush Administration. Things were supposed to go a certain way, and you stated these potential, predicted outcomes as facts. But until it happens, unless it happens, it’s just what people think will happen.

The Republicans have been lousy at reading the public’s moods and wishes as of late. They’ve cared less about figuring out what the public’s state of mind is on its own accord, and more about imposing their desired ideology in its place, in the place of rival ideologies.

This media bias excuse is an example of such a weak approach. Obama wasn’t elected out of pity or guilt. He was elected, in a landslide victory out of admiration. From that earned triumph, we see the message go out to minorities: if you get a good education, if you fight your way through, you do have the chance to aim for the very top. No more lip service to one day this or that being possible. It has happened, and is happening.

No more screwing around with excuses, for either side. No more excuses to get around acknowledging the qualifications. no more excuses for people in those communities about where they could go if they applied themselves.

Equality helps generate responsibility. And Obama has proven himself equal, and proven that his race is not a sufficient barrier to that proof being ignored. Don’t underestimate the importance of a broken barrier to the uplift of a culture.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 17, 2009 11:19 PM
Comment #273781

Stephen D., there can be no freedom and equality where there is poverty, and there can be no justice when those in power are exempt from prosecution for violating the nation’s laws, while those not in power are imprisoned for violations, both the guilty and innocent.

America elected a person of color to president. You know what that is? That is a symbolic milestone. Little more. MLK spoke of something far more ubiquitous and pervasive than electing a person of color to the highest office of the land. When children of all skin colors are seen walking hand in hand, when poverty cannot be found except among those who make a vow to it, when our jails and prisons are populated only by those who transgressed just laws and the rights of others, then, and only then, will MLK’s dream be realized.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 18, 2009 3:24 PM
Comment #273870

16 hours left of the worst president ever. just had to put it out there. hope is tomorrow’s horizon. happy day every one!!! 1-20-09!!! may intelligence reign!!!

Posted by: bluebuss at January 19, 2009 7:44 PM
Comment #273909

Hope is tomorrow’s horizon?
Guess thats a good thing for you since hope is all this guy has ever had to offer.

Your hopes are this countrys nightmares.

Posted by: kctim at January 20, 2009 10:43 AM
Comment #273914

What would David Milch say? From Deadwood ep 17 s2 (Difficulties/Complications):

Hugo: Had you vision as well as sight, you would recognize within me not only a man, but an institution and the future as well.

Steve: Fuck you, fuck the institution, and fuck the future!

Hugo: You cannot fuck the future, sir. The future fucks you.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 20, 2009 12:01 PM
Comment #273929

kctim,

Would you have us all don our coon skin caps, build our log cabins in the woods, and live happily ever after? Puhleeze!

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2009 3:54 PM
Comment #273936

That’s just silly Dude. Showing a little repect for other views and simply taking off your blinders and look at the facts, not hype, would do just fine.

Posted by: kctim at January 20, 2009 4:54 PM
Comment #273942

“Hope is tomorrow’s horizon?
Guess thats a good thing for you since hope is all this guy has ever had to offer.

Your hopes are this countrys nightmares.”

the fact that those of us in the middle and on the left are hoping that the new commander in chief can fix what those on the right broke is a nightmare to you? Or is it the fact that if he can the right will be out of power for decades to come your real nightmare?
Please remember — without hope there is only despair and failure.
Or are you purely putting party above nation?
—Savage

Posted by: A Savage at January 20, 2009 5:46 PM
Comment #273965

Two and a half million people today seemed to send a pretty clear message……sad…but clear!
While not terribly appropriate, it had to be pretty clear to Bush and Cheney that they will not be missed !

Posted by: janedoe at January 20, 2009 10:15 PM
Comment #273975

Savage
The sad fact that you believe it was just “those on the right” is why all these hopes will be nothing but a continuation of the countrys nightmares.
Sure, you will be happy because the rulings now favor your mindset, but deep down, nothing has or is going to change.

“without hope there is only despair and failure”

Depends on what one is hoping for and what they are willing to do to make it possible.
I can buy a lottery ticket and hope I become a millionaire OR I can work my ass off and hope my hard work pays off.
As a country, I am tired of playing the lottery and “hoping.”

Posted by: kctim at January 21, 2009 9:20 AM
Comment #274035

Anyone want to explain how they could have voted for GWB then when it was obvious that he didn’t fulfill his obligations at the TANG and every business that his father’s rich friends handed him, he ran into the ground. Sounds like playing the lottery to me, obvious long odds there.

Posted by: ray at January 22, 2009 9:00 AM
Comment #274107

kctim what is so wrong with hope? you see, we knew bush/cheney would do the wrong thing. to hurt/destroy the middle class. to only help the rich. to cause war, to ruin lives, to think of wall street. now, there is hope that the man in office truly wants to do the right thing. to use his intelligence, and to keep all classes in mind not just the top 3%. to see our suffering and need and plan to help. to mend the broken relations of our former friends, and to close institutions which brought dishonor to all of us americans.

you know what - hope is in the air, and no longer just on the horizon. it sounds like you may be living w/the tension us democrats have had for 8 years. just wait, your shoulders will get so tight you can bounce quarters off of them - and that will come in handy about the 7th year when the drinking begins. :)~

Posted by: bluebuss at January 22, 2009 7:08 PM
Comment #274296

>I can buy a lottery ticket and hope I become a millionaire OR I can work my ass off and hope my hard work pays off.
Posted by: kctim at January 21, 2009 09:20 AM

kctim,

The third option, of course, is to do both. Why limit yourself to just one of those two things when working your ass off does not preclude buying a lottery ticket?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2009 11:13 AM
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