Tuesday
Nov042008

« My Two Cents »

After eight years of the party that wrecked America, I think it is time to hope again that integrity and transparency will have a chance to be the tools of the presidential trade. I think a man of principle and honor has won this election, and one who has demonstrated unparalleled ability to excite people to action for their own good. I think this election trumps the 2004 go around because this was not an anybody-but-Bush election. This time, I felt like we had a good man on the ticket—as good as has been found in national politics for a long while.

It happens that he is also of my denomination, the United Church of Christ. I didn't vote for him solely for that reason, but it was something that helped me understand something of what makes him tick. No two UCC congregations are alike, so his at Trinity is very different from any I have attended, but in the UCC, social justice is a major concern and he has worked for that for many years now, and he understands there is more to it than handing out checks to people. These days, his grassroots empowerment and consensus building expertise is desperately needed. But I think his greatest strength, even before any of that is accomplished, is that he seems to be a keen listener. That alone will be a radical regime change from the status quo!

While I wasn't the stunned and joyfully weeping Jesse Jackson or Oprah, I did find myself a little verklemt as it dawned on me what happened tonight. The camera's sweep across the masses gathered in Chicago reminded me a little of the images of the night when the Berlin Wall fell. And in some ways, this event is as momentous. It is a victory just the same, a victory over the fearfulness and divisiveness of bankrupt ideologies.

Now, jubilation aside, I have my concerns that even Barack Obama—soundly principled as he is—is entering a total shitstorm of history and even he will be a small figure before the wave of events before us. But if we have to simultaneously face assorted crises like peak oil, global warming, terrorism, economic wipeout (that might end up leading us to a new economic philosophy that reins in the excesses of capitalism I hope), and all the woes before us, then I'd prefer Obama as a leader who can talk cool and tough, knowing when it is time to listen more than talk. With the Bushies, the adage of "when all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail" was the prevailing but bankrupt logic. I think Obama's tool chest is larger than that.

I heard a section of NPR's All Things Considered where black voters were being asked to share their opinion of a pending victory for Barack Obama. One fellow told a story of how his friend sent a text message to many friends with something like the following:

Rosa sat so that Martin could walk.
Martin walked so that Barack could run.
Barack ran so that our children could fly.

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