Sunday, January 06, 2008

Making History In Iowa

Tonight, old man,
You did it! You did it! You did it!
You said that you would do it and indeed you did.
I thought that you would rue it,
I doubted you'd do it;
But now I must admit it that succeed, you did!
Colonel Pickering (played by Tom Degan)
to Professor Henry Higgins (played by Barak Obama)
from Lerner and Loewe's
My Fair Lady
The results of last week's Iowa caucus almost knocked me senseless. I did not think that Barack Obama could win a primary in in a state with the one of the lowest population of African Americans in the nation. Depending on who you talk to, it is roughly 2 percent - a ridiculously low number any way you look at it. It must honestly be conceded that history was made in the snows of Iowa on Wednesday night.
A tip of the old fedora to the good people of that state. Even the selection on the Republican side of the slightly nutty outsider, Mike Huckabee, gives one the impression that the Blackhawk State just may very well be a microcosm of the union as a whole. People are sick and tired of mainstream politics and politicians. They are desperate for the kind of change that is personified in the figure of Barack Obama.
I was (and still am) a supporter of John Edwards. I still have a vague hope that he will end up winning this thing. Of all of the candidates, he seems to be the only one who remembers that the Democratic Party is, after all, the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Senator Obama's position regarding the health care crisis - that he will allow the big pharmaceutical companies to have a seat at the table when working out a solution - is, to be polite, naive. The next president of the United States is going to have to understand that Corporate America is the enemy of the people. They no more deserve a "seat at the table" than the local heroin dealer deserves a seat on the City Council. John Edwards understands this. Barack Obama does not - or at least, that's how it appears. Heaven knows what he's really thinking.
Having said that let me say this: There is potential here - a lot of potential! While I would prefer John Edwards to be the eventual nominee, I would be more than comfortable with Barack as the standard bearer - or Joe Biden, or Chris Dodd, or Dennis Kucinich - PLEASE! ANYBODY BUT HILLARY CLINTON!! I can not emphasize this enough: If she is nominated at the convention next summer, it's all over. The only thing that Hillary Clinton stands for is Hillary Clinton. Even if she were somehow, miraculously, able to win (and that's never gonna happen - count on it), she still thinks that NAFTA was good for the American economy. She still thinks that her vote to give the First Fool the authorization to invade Iraq was a really neat idea. I'm not even that comfortable having her as my senator let alone president of the United States! I desperately want to see a woman elected to the presidency in my lifetime but, PLEASE, not that woman! And ask yourselves the following question: How is this listing going to look in the history books?
1. George Washington
2. John Adams
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. James Madison
5. James Monroe
6. John Quincy Adams
7. Martin Van Buren
8. Andrew Jackson
9. William Henry Harrison
10. John Tyler
11. James K. Polk
12. Zachary Taylor
13. Millard Fillmore
14. Franklin Pierce
15. James Buchanan
16. Abraham Lincoln
17. Andrew Johnson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
20. James A. Garfield
21. Chester A. Arthur
22. Grover Cleveland
23. Benjamen Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
25. William McKinley
26. Theodore Roosevelt
27. William Howard Taft
28. Woodrow Wilson
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin Coolidge
31. Herbert Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33. Harry S. Truman
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
35. John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James E. Carter
40. Ronald Reagan
41. BUSH
43. BUSH
Admit it: It's going to look kind of silly, don'cha think? We are not a nation of political royalty - we're better than that (Or, at least, I always thought we were). The time has come for change - a totally new direction. That new frontier, that new deal - that new freedom - has yet to be articulated by Senator Clinton. Barack is our hopeful future. Hillary is our embarrassing past. (By the way, I wrote that list from memory. Aren't you impressed? I knew you would be!)
And sure enough, as I knew they would, the mainstream, corporate media has already begun to ask the inevitable question:
WHINY, IRRITATING VOICE: "Is America ready for a black president?
Oh, Please! Let me explain this to them as clearly and as concisely as I possibly can. In the process, they just might get a valuable, much-needed history lesson:
America has been ready for a black president since the day Shirley Chisholm announced her candidacy in 1972.
America has been ready for a black president since Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
America has been ready for a black president since Martin Luther King declared, "I have a dream" in August of 1963.
America has been ready for a black President since the day in 1957 when federal troops had to escort nine children into a public school in Little Rock, Arkansas.
America has been ready for a black president since late in the afternoon of December 1, 1955, when a tired and fed-up Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man.
America has been ready for a black president since the Supreme Court of Earl Warren ruled on "Brown vs. the Board of Education" in 1954.
America has been ready for a black president since Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces on July 28, 1948.
America has been ready for a black president since the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson on April 15, 1947.
America has been ready for a black president since that day in 1939 when contralto Marian Anderson sang "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after having been refused the opportunity to sing before the Daughters of the American Revolution because of the color of her skin.
America has been ready for a black president since the night of October 16, 1901 when President Theodore Roosevelt invited George Washington Carver to dine at the White House in the face of southern political outrage.
America has been ready for a black president since January 1, 1863, when Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation became the law of the land.
America has been ready for a black president since Frederick Douglas put pen to paper and wrote, "The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous."
America has been ready for a black president since March 5, 1770! That was the day that Crispus Attucks - a black man - became the first human being to give his life for this country.
Yeah. America has been ready for a black president for a very, very long time. Three cheers to Barack Obama for waking us up to this fact.
You know, I was just thinking: This son-of-a-bitch just might be able to pull this thing off!
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
The Audacity of Hope
by Barack Obama


At 11:33 AM, Blogger Tabitha said...

As is usually the case, I totally agree with you, Tom, although as a person who grew up in MS instead of NY, I have always felt that Edwards was a safer bet to win the final election. I still think the Dems are taking something of a chance in this regard. As far as Hillary goes, good riddance! If Edwards does, indeed, begin to totally lose out to the rants of the MSM, I desperately would like to see Obama choose him as his VP. We could still use a bulldog VP in The White House, especially one that doesn't bite his own hunting buddies!

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Rick Lippin said...


Share your deep pride in Iowa result.The American dream is back!

And your writing about it is inspiring.

But electing our nation's first female president would not be the catastrophe you imagine.

Rick Lippin

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous John Harragin said...

I don't think Obama is much of an improvement over Hillary. Both of them are said to have accepted vast sums from military contract corporations and both have accumulated hawk advisors and both churn out the tough-on-terror nonsense that keeps us engaged in Iraq.

I favor both Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul if for no other reason than to hear a voice in the political arena that are somewhat in line with my own views. Already the media has already made it clear that they will not allow either to make significant headway. But since nearly all of the major media has significant ties (or outright ownership) to major military manufacturers this makes perfect sense. Anyway, I think it is far to soon to choose the best of the worst and it is better to back the idealist that are at least giving us some voice.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous John Harragin said...

Oh, and I could hardly care less if the next president is black, gay, woman, muslim... This is all immaterial - the only thing that matters is that someone promotes good policy - and we have a pretty good policy defined in the constitution. I want someone who pursues that!

At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


God Bless your enthusiasm. I hope Barack and Edwards both get in and I hope they can master the art of cleaning house while leading this country in a better direction. If elected they will be inheriting an awful mess.

They will need a lot of grassroots support as they try to tame the demons that have had their way for so long with Washington. They'll be attacked mercilessly for doing the right thing. And we'll need to keep marching and educating people to support them!

At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Suzon said...

I applaud your comments on American being ready for a black president--that's certainly the America I was lucky enough to grow up in. My hometown of Jamestown, New York was PROUD of being a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Others of course have grown up in an America where lynchings were great photo opportunities and sadly that legacy is in the blood. I believe that Obama has been lured into a trap. Same with Clinton.

The crossover vote is very poisonous.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

I disagree Tom. Barack has the backing of Big Pharm and Wall Street and wants them all to sit down at table to discuss 'the issues'. He is too light weight and lacks experience and all the sloganeering rings hollow. Nothing concrete.
I do share you enthusiasm that the great colour divide has been conquered but saddened that it had to be by Obama.

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous pdxstudent said...

I'm close enough to it to understand, but I still cannot exactly fall in line with the "you voted for a black man, Americans (Iowans), good for you for growing up!" kind of salut. I say this because people should not be applauded for what they should be doing in the first place---in this case, all other factors notwithstanding, showing a lack of racial intolerance by voting for a black man---especially when we should not be deceived to think this really shows a decline in racism, just a transformation of it.

I say this because overt racial intolerance does not stack up to the Capitalist intolerance that Obama still stands for with his neoliberal voting record. By voting for him, Americans are contributing to far worse though far removed racial intolerance, through his support of Capitalist expansion, which hurts far more people of color around the world than not voting for a black man.

This, however, is the Democrats' hubris. Obama's race should have nothing to do with why we think he's a good representative for our people, but it does when we pat ourselves on the back for voting (in Iowa, anyway) for a black man. That Iowans seemed to see through his skin color should be less important than the fact that they didn't see through his neoliberal politics, which is bad for Americans black or white.

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why people who have the internet and access to independent news are still dumb.
Please read the following article and stop dreaming.
Elections & Voting
"2008 presidential charade promises deepening of government criminality and expansion of war"
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor
Jan 10, 2008


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