Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The politics of hope

In the half century I've been walking this earth I have never witnessed an election like this. Kennedy came close but this is deeper; it's bigger. Maybe it's because the world is so much more complicated now or it's the relief that our eight year national nightmare is about to end. Maybe it's the incredible prospect of breaking the race barrier for the office, but you don't have to be an American of color to be moved by the import this race.

General JC Christian, patriot, tweeted this tonight. On NPR:
"Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Obama could run, Obama is running so our children can fly."
Nate Silver reporting from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Back at the rally, after the march had left MLK Gardens, I'd gone back for the car while Brett took photos, and I spotted a very old black man in a sharp Sunday suit walking slowly at the very back of the huge march. He hadn't yet arrived at the voting center, and I decided to find him when I got back.

I wanted to go talk to him, to ask him what this moment meant to him. He was a guy who you take one glance at, and know, that guy's seen it all. I wanted a quote. I had my journalist hat on. I thought, this will be great.

So when I got back to the voting location with the car, I went to find him in the line. Eventually I spotted him, and was ready to walk up the few feet between us and introduce myself when I stopped in my tracks.

A young black boy, no more than eight years old, walked up to this man, who was at least eighty. The boy offered the man a sticker, probably an "I Voted" sticker, but I couldn't see. The man took the sticker and paused. Silently, he looked down at the boy, who was looking back up at the man. The man put his hand gently on the boy's head, and I saw his eyes glisten.

I didn't ask the man for a quote. I didn't need to. I walked over by myself, behind the community center, and I sat down on a bench next to the track, and wept.
Nate is not the only one. It's everywhere.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Yes, it's amazing. No one has ever looked more like the right man at the right time, but it's all so fragile.

Walt Whitman talked about how Lincoln inspired so much hatred that he had to have armed guards everywhere and of course they finally got him. I truly worry that so much hangs on the ability to put a cork in the volcano of hate McCain and Fox and Palin are inspiring.

I lived through a time when you could have your head cracked open or worse just for having hair that's considered short today; a time when the President was murdered and his brother was murdered and civil rights leaders were murdered, but this seems worse. It seems a lot worse.

9:44:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

It does seem worse than anything I can remember too. Fragile is exactly the right word.

10:43:00 AM  

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