Optimistic Heart and Pessimistic Mind: Obama's Nomination
Although I do I try to steer clear of politics, I simply cannot resist during this compelling political week and particularly on this historic day.
F. Scott Fitzgerald said that the mark of a first rate intelligence is the ability to simultaneously hold two contradictory ideas in your mind. I aspire to having a first rate intelligence. Particularly today.
I do not support Obama because he is bi-racial. Nor did I support Hillary because she was a woman. I'm an old fashioned party Democrat. The Republicans could nominate a gay disabled mixed "race" black and asian orphan from Spanish Harlem and I would not vote for him or her.
I nevertheless pause the Negotiation Blog this evening to celebrate the great effort -- the individual and collective acts of heroism as well as the small daily tender merices -- that have moved us so far beyond the society in which I was raised -- one in which Southern de jure and the Northern de facto segregation was an accepted fact -- never to be altered.
I was proud of all of us and of our legal system just a couple of weeks ago when the Bratz/MGA jury "outed" a prejudiced member of the panel who spoke ill of Iranians as a group in a case in which one of the defendants was of Persian ancestry.
And I'm proud again today.
That's it. An executive summary of my optimistic heart. Below, the pessimism that keeps me from walking off cliffs while gazing at the clouds.
But there are many signs that the struggle is only beginning. Jacob Weisberg canvasses the lingering legacy of racism in the US, and Patricia J. Williams puts it in vivid detail:
[W]hile some of us are listening to the soothing tones of National Public Radio, a much larger audience—and larger by millions—is listening to Rush Limbaugh singing those subterranean fears of “Barack, the magic Negro,” or to radio shock jocks cackling about “jigaboos,” or to Pat Buchanan fretting that Obama is a radical, unpatriotic, extremist “elitist” to whom the liberal media hands a pass as a “special-ed,” “affirmative-action” candidate. Not that any of them mean it in a racist way. Hey, lighten up. Don’t you have a sense of humor?
We can continue to make this union more perfect.