Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama's America

Along with 30-40,000 other people yesterday, I crowded into Miami's Bicentennial Park to get close to one of history's pivotal moments. That moment, of course, being the future presidency of Barack Obama, a man who has become the embodiment of every dream deferred for the last, what, 200 years? A man who represents not only the repudiation of the neoconservative putsch of America, but also the paradigm shift his election to the highest office in the land must surely represent.

When I turned to scan the crowd as Bara
ck took the stage, I marveled at what I saw. I saw America. Not the imagined America of Sarah Palin playing herself in the Reagan tradition, but the America I have known since birth as a child of the New York City streets, and now the jambalaya of Miami's. A polyglot America. A rainbow- complected America. An America the likes of which Whitman wrote about without ever seeing. And we, for the most part, stood shoulder-to-shoulder in unity, linked by the improbable fortunes of this one man in whom we have placed perhaps our last hopes of "this, a more perfect union."

Thousands of young African-American parents brought their children to be witnesses to history, while those of us who could offered to lift those same children onto our shoulders so that they could bask in the wondrous elemental glow of history at one of its occasional glorious turning points.
Oh, the speech was good, and there were memorable moments. But it was the sheer intensity of of turnout that cast the greater numinescence to the event. Not even some Republican folly, in the form of an airplane banner reflecting the sad and sorry litany of a bankrupt political party could take that away from us. We, people of so many different tribes, laughing, dancing, and listening together.

From this vantage point, it is almost impossible not to believe that November 4 will bring a landslide victory. The world is holding its breath, and if I stop from my own labors on behalf of this one man, who so many of us now sense is riding the crest of a tsunami of historical proportions, perhaps so would I. America needs Barack Obama, as much for who he is as what he will do when we give him the power on our behalf.

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