Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Obama: First Black Democratic Nominee
Best hangover ever, say the democratic blogs this morning. Without a doubt. Two fuzzy navels and hours later, I'm still shaking my head in mild disbelief. Did that just happen? Did we actually put Obama over the top? Did the honk and waves, the phone calls, the traipsing around Republican neighborhoods and inner city churches, the hundreds of dollars each person contributed, the email lists and digging of articles, the blogging.... did the voting and caucusing and cheering and arguing and crying and laughing and waiting in long lines just to see Obama or his wife speak really result in this history-making moment?
Yes it did!
Obama shattered all expectations. A virtual unknown a year ago on the national stage, today he is the first black candidate of a major political party running for the highest office in America, the most powerful leadership role in the world, the baddest power in cyber-space and outer space... He's da man!
Add Obama to the Fantastic Four and make it the Fantabulous Five.
Our Cincinnati primary party room erupted into utter pandemonium as the digital check box popped onto the MSNBC screen with Barack's smiling face and full name listed as the "Democratic Nominee." It was true last night, is still true this morning: Barack Obama makes a run for the presidency (catch him if you can, McCain, Mr. Cottage Cheese in Lime Jello Mold)!
Obama didn't limp across the finish line either. His stadium appearance last night in St. Paul (the future site of the RNC) drew crowds of 17,000 inside and turned away 15,000 outside (numbers may be off - I took these from memory of last night's pundits commenting away over the rousing laughter, cheers, clinking drinks and general dizzy enthusiasm that filled our primary party downtown).
Just had to comment on Michelle for a moment too. That little kiss on the cheek, followed by the thumb's up and knuckles to her husband will symbolize for me, for a long time, that we are in a new era. They are a team, they are NOW.
In any event, what set Obama's speech apart from McCain's curmudgeon-y, stale, deflated balloon approach to our future in America and from Hillary's bizarrely out of time, tempo and context march through each corner of America where she was hugged and whispered to by downtrodden blue collar, non-elites (gosh, her litany of unhappy Americans gets depressing) as they poured out their health care and jobless woes to her, the "Messiah in a pants suit," was the fact that Obama made his speech about us - Americans who want to take the control over the future back from the paternalism and condescension of politicians who have their political legacies more in mind than anything resembling democratic participatory government.
When Obama said that we voted this time in record numbers because we believed we could make a difference through our actions, through participating, through demonstrating that we are meant to be a part of America's future (not just asking someone else to fix it for us), he was right. He is the only candidate who gets it. His speech was not about how great he is, how well he meets people's needs (like Hillary's). It was about recognizing the hunger Americans have to get back into the ring, to rise above apathy and matter again. Yes Obama embodies that vision, but it was that vision that set him apart from the other candidates. I don't want someone to "fight for me," I want the opportunity to act, to participate, to be a part of the solution.
In any event, if Obama's campaign is anything to go by, that is exactly how he wants to govern. Whether he'll get his chance, well that's up to us.
Yes we can!