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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.

I give you from Frank Pasquale's post at Concurring Opinions today -- Inspiration and Realism in Denver -- the pessimistic part from Patricia J. Williams.    

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. 


Comments (2)

Read through and enter the discussion by using the form at the end
Frank - August 28, 2008 7:59 PM

Thanks for the link. and here's a bit more pessimism from glenn greenwald:


"The GOP's attacks on Kerry in 2004 were mocking, scornful, derisive, demonizing and deeply personal -- in speech after speech -- and they were also highly effective. They weren't the slightest bit deterred by the fact that Kerry was a war hero who was wounded multiple times in Vietnam while George Bush and Dick Cheney. . . . weren't. Has there been anything remotely approaching those attacks on McCain by any of the prime-time Democratic speakers?

"The GOP assaults on Barack Obama will be -- have already been -- even more vicious and personalized, which means by the end of their Convention next week, John McCain will be, by all accounts, an honor-bound, principled and courageous patriot (who, at worst, is wrong on some issues), while Barack Obama will be some vaguely foreign, weak, appeasing, super-ambitious, exotic, empty-headed, borderline un-American liberal extremist."

Vickie - August 28, 2008 9:32 PM

Thanks for dropping by Frank. I'm a great fan of Concurring Opinions.

Yes, taking the high road is harder and more dangerous than taking the low one. And war is easier (though far more expensive) than peace.

But who would WE be if we played tit for tat with the GOP? What would WE stand for? I'm not for sweetening the picture. The Dems should be expressing OUTRAGE!!! OUTRAGE!!!! on the assault by this administration on the rule of law; cronyism; torture; duplicity; the privatization (and diminution) of public services for the least fortunate among us; a preemptive and bungled war which we're now supposed to celebrate because the chaos we permitted to ensue is -- after more than a trillion American dollars and too many American AND Iraqui lives at last being put into some semblance of order, at least in Baghdad. As the Rene Zellwigger character in that civil war movie (????? darn brain ?????) said, "men create the rain and then complain that they're getting wet." Present company excluded. We don't have the luxury this election to be well mannered but we still need to separate the people from the problem and drive a stake through the problem's heart. Too many Americans voted Bush into office twice to have their noses rubbed in the man's patent ineptitude. So we need to continue to be soft on the people and hard on the problem.

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