We stand on the precipice of history. A stunning victory has been won. A clean fresh wind has blown through the ravaged national landscape and the almost lost hope seems to have come to pass. Although one man’s name, Obama, is given to the change, truly it was the work of millions of micro leaders and shakers who made the waves.
It is right that we celebrate and savor this victory. So have a great time, you certainly have earned it. You who put in the labor, shoe leather, have reaped a well deserved harvest. Have the fun you earned.
Although we have earned the right to dance and feel great, let us not forget that this is not an end but, only a beginning.
Now comes the hard part. Obama is a great man and a hearty spirit but, he cannot get the change alone. If I have a fear it is that the forces that have coalesced recently will look at this election and say "Hot damn!! That was great now, I can leave it alone and let Obama take it from here."
It is not going to work that way. Obama faces some huge obstacles.
First of all, Barack has to deal with a parliament of whores. I read somewhere that just on the healthcare issue the insurers have seven lobbyists for every person in congress. Really, little moves in Washington unless it goes through K Street first. Do I sound conspiratorial? Maybe, but compare the time it took to bailout Wall Street with the time it has taken to get health care reform. As soon as Wall Street had trouble Washington reacted with lightening fast speed. Compare this to the constant healthcare crisis that average Americans have been facing for decades. When big money is in trouble change takes days, when regular people have trouble change has not come in decades. What does this tell you about the political priorities of the national capital?
The healthcare pimps (lobbyists) are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I can only image how many other lobbyists are in Washington obstructing other progressive issues.
It was President Warren G. Harding who said "It is not my enemies who keep me pacing the floors at night, it is my friends." Although very different men this statement applies to Obama as well. Let’s face it the Washington wing of the Democratic Party has been pretty underwhelming to say the least. If there is a sports metaphor that is appropriate I would say that it that of old New Orleans Saints Quarterback, Archie Manning. Archie Manning (Peyton and Eli’s dad) was probably one of the most talented Quarterbacks of his generation. The reason his name is lost is that he had the misfortune of playing on one of the worst teams in history, the New Orleans Saints of the 1970’s. Many is the time that Archie would scrabble get out of trouble, throw the ball, hit his receiver on the numbers and have the ball dropped. I am concerned that the Democrats in Washington are a bit like the Saints of the 70’s. Pelosi seems pretty spineless and Reid thinks that boring people into submission will achieve prodigious results.
Maybe I am a bit vicious in my assessment yet; my malicious feelings are born out of frustration with the way the ball has been constantly dropped by them. I understand that we are all slaves of our experiences. The alleged leadership in Washington came of age in the era of Reagan when; the left was on the ropes. Liberals had to take what they could get and hope to get an occasional moral victory ever so often. If they went too far they were destroyed. These years of caution had to have a profound psychological effect on people like Pelosi. Understandable yet, I have to say that if Majority leadership in the US Congress can not shake off the specters of the past then, they should step aside. Either get with it or get out of it.
Even if Obama can master these two imposing obstacles he still faces the last legacy of the right wing that is the court system. We can get all the reforms possible, yet there is a good chance that the Supreme Court will strike them down as "unconstitutional". The court is mostly controlled by Antonin Scalia, a man so crooked that he will have to be screwed into the ground when he is buried.(In fairness, Justice Breyer does his best to give Scalia a run for his intellectual money.)
That scraping sound that you might hear in the background is the sound of the conservatives sharpening their knives. If the truth be told the right wing in this country is probably secretly, delighted with this result. They never really like McCain all that much to begin with. They are natural whiners and love to bitch so right now they are in the cat bird seat. They like that the idea of being the establishment outsiders. ("Establishment outsiders" contradictory huh? If you resolve, how someone can be rebel and a conformist at the same time then you are far wiser than I am.) Anytime Obama sneezes you will have the conservative nattering-nabob-frenzied- boo-hoo-pusillanimous-pissant-pundits screeaching like boiled Banishees on how he is spreading the flu or committing an act of bio-terrorism. What the late Hunter S. Thompson referred to as the million pound shit hammer is gearing up. I write this on Monday, Nov 3, 2008 and I am willing to bet that the first thing they will do is explain how this election was not actually a mandate, how they were not actually, absolutely repudiated. I will hazard a guess that this convoluted logic will be making all the rounds of the talking head shows by this weekend. They are ginned up and waiting for battle, very well organized, well financed with a huge infrastructure at their disposal.
These sound like pretty huge obstructions to justice and they are yet, their still is one hope. That is that the movement brought about this change can hang together. I know that I ask a lot. We have put in many hard hours getting to this point. It is only natural to fatigue would set in and a drop off in involvement will happen. We need to stay with the change and keep the pressure up. Obama was not the wind of change he only rode on it. You created that wind. Please forgive my skeptical cynicism but, from what I have seen politicians are like popcorn, they only get active when heat is applied to them. We and you and I must apply the heat. No heat, no change. If they still refuse to respond then Barack Obama and all others rode this wind should be reminded that they are very replaceable. That this force that made them can also be turned against them and ruin them.
So please although it need not be at the intensity of previous levels, stick together, keep the changes happening, hold Washington accountable. When a right winger spouts off with the their brain dead megaphones challenge them. After all, Socretes onces said "The antedote to gossip is the wise man" (Please note this is a direct quote. I think for our purposes we should change the last word in the quote from man to person)
So is it in yours, ours and my hands tonight as to whether this election is a footnote in history or a whole new story. After all this time only the preface has been written in the future textbooks you and I and us need keep writing the rest of the story.
(Selah, having now done my best to save Democracy and justice I now go to wash the dishes.)