Friday, February 01, 2008

Agents of Change

Who ever thought we'd live this long?

Maybe it's just me, but as a child of the 60's the very IDEA that THIS would be the picture of the two last Survivors on the Presidential Primary Island as we head into "Super Tuesday" is totally something to rejoice and be glad in.

And yes, "Miles To Go Before We Rest" only begins to describe where we are on the journey toward overcoming the twin sins of racism and sexism in this country, but I figure if I forget to pause along the way to express a little wonder, awe and appreciation for how far we HAVE come then I'm forgetting that "joy and wonder" part of the baptismal prayers.

ANYWAY, today's a "day off" and so I mailed off my vote-by-mail ballot (after a jaunt to the dog park) for Tuesday's SUPER Primary and was just struck with how grateful I am to have been faced with the difficult choice between two gifted, smart, forward-thinking progressive voices for change who just HAPPEN to be an African American man and an Outspoken American Woman! (AND I really, really, REALLY liked John Edwards and hope he ends up doing something fabulously influential in the new adminstration!)

The tone and timbre of the debate last night left me encouraged that we can unite around issues AND unite the country around a new direction and I am SO READY for the next 353 days (8 hours and some-odd moments as I write this!) to be behind us and with them the failed adminstration of this feckless president.

So here's to Change AND Experience ... and here's to celebrating the experience of enough change in the last 40 years of my paying-attention-to-politics-life (I was a precocious politico! :) that a Clinton/Obama race is not only a possiblity but a reality!!
PS -- Check out what Ellen Snortland had to say in her "Unite and conquer" piece in the Pasadena Weekly
... I particularly loved this quote from Flo Kennedy:

“There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.”



Paul B said...

How sad that when you look at that picture you see a woman and a black man, instead of two presidential candidates.

But, I would LOVE to see a Clinton/Obama ticket.


Sad exactly how, Paul? Are you looking at the same picture I am? Did you miss the "two gifted, smart, forward-thinking progressive voices for change who just HAPPEN to be an African American man and an Outspoken American Woman!" part???

For while race and/or gender are not the most important defining factors for these gifted leaders by ANY means, for someone of my generation ... and I do not know the cultural or demographic context from which you speak ... just the FACT that the picture in question is of "a woman and a black man" is an EXTRAORDINARY testimony overcoming barriers many would once have thought un-overcome-able.

So stay tuned ... and thanks for commenting.

Paul B said...

Susan, it's always enlightening to read what you have to say.

My point is that, when reading your blog, you always seem to have to label people. Especially people of color and women, to make sure we notice their accomplishments.

I grew up in the south in the 60s/70s, and, I admit, I am a tad prejudiced, being a middle aged white guy and all.

But I really, really, believe what Dr. King said when he hoped that his children would be judged by their ideas, their character, not by the color of their skin.

Because of that, I just can't take Obama seriously. He's had two years of experience at the national level, none at the international level. Nobody is THAT quick a study. He's young. His only qualification seems to be that he's finally a handsome, articulate black man to run for President. If he was white, I don't think he would have this much traction.

Hilary is just Hilary. The most nakedly-ambitious politician to come around in a long time.

So, I agree with you. It is great that they are running. I just wish that we could get past their color and gender and talk about them, who they are. I'm tired of still hearing about the "first Black whatever" or the "first Woman whatever". I've accepted that. I'm fine with it. It's not a big deal. As long as people continue to trumpet those things, however, Dr King's hope won't be realized.


Thanks -- I'll take "enlightening."

And no, we're certainly not "there yet" (where Dr. King "dreamed" we'd be) ... but my point WAS let's celebrate this step toward a day when race and gender won't matter. Because they still do.

Padre Wayne said...

Agreed, Susan. And while I rejoice that these "two gifted, smart, forward-thinking progressive voices for change" just happen to be an African American man and a woman, I shed copious tears over the loss of Edwards. I echo your comment: " (AND I really, really, REALLY liked John Edwards and hope he ends up doing something fabulously influential in the new adminstration!)" and join you in hope!

Meanwhile, I'll start working for Obama!

Jim said...

Paul's comment brought to my mind the football analogy (this being that weekend) about redressing history.

If we think of life as a football game, and a black team is playing a white team, Jim Crowe is like requiring the black team to field 10 players to the white's 11.

After 3 quarters of play, the blacks finally get someone to see this is unfair. So the whites say, "OK, from now on you can have 11 players."



uffda51 said...

George W. Bush is white. What kind of "traction" did his international experience create before he was declared the president? And how has that international experience been paying off for us lately?

Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama represent a great milestone for America and the world. How long will it be until the final two contenders for the REPUBLICAN presidential nomination are a black man and a woman?

RonF said...

Actually, Susan, I agree. This country has come a long way when we can see a minority and a woman as legitimate contenders for our highest elective office. Of course, I can remember (I was too young to vote at the time, but old enough to understand) that it was a controvesy when the U.S. elected our first Catholic President.

I think that it would be foolish and divisive to vote for either candidate BECAUSE of their sex or race. And frankly, I don't favor the policies or proposals of either one. But that does not change the fact that it would have been out of the question to see this when I voted in my first election, and the fact that this is no longer true is a positive one.

uffda51, you might be surprised at how soon that day might come. I'm minded that the first time I voted for someone for the U.S. Senate, it was for a black man. He was a Republican - and, in fact, he won. That would be Sen. Brooke of Massachusetts.

As far as Sen. Obama's qualifications go, I'm a resident of Illinois. The idea that a candidate billing himself as Mr. Clean could come out of the cesspool of corruption that is Illinois politics and the General Assembly seems ludicrous, especially when you reflect that Obama financed his first campaigns with money from a notorious "fixer" who is currently cooling his heels in jail while under indictment for corruption - a man who also helped him buy his house. Sen. Obama is not the man you think he is.