Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Quote of the Day: Barack Obama

by J J Cohen

OK, everyone else is blogging it, so I will join in. My favorite line from Obama's eloquent acceptance speech is the following -- not for its rhetorical beauty, but simply because of who is mentioned, without fanfare:

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference. It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

The understated inclusiveness of that second sentence and its utter lack of hesitation speak volumes.

Yes, I know: things will fall apart. They always do. The reality never matches the vision. Yet for the time being, I am so pleased for the vision.

Ok, back to Mandeville.

7 comments:

Dr. Virago said...

Yeah, I noticed that, too, especially "disabled and not disabled," and thought, "Hey, I think that may be a first. How cool." But only just now did I notice "not disabled" as opposed to "able bodied" or whatever. That's pretty cool, too.

Ceirseach said...

Oh, everything falls apart eventually, but some less disastrously than others. He's no knight in shining armour (though considering what some of those got up to in the Middle East that's probably lucky), but whether he actually does pull (carefully) out of Iraq, work with other countries rather than overriding them, deliver on environmental promises, even possibly manage to pass some bills removing a little of the inequality for non-straight relationships - whether he manages any of that or not, for America to have actually voted in someone who says he might do that... well, that's something in itself, isn't it?

prehensel said...

I found this heartening:: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/05/barackobama-gayrights

Stephanie Trigg said...

Half-way across the Pacific yesterday (or was it earlier today?), the captain came on the loudspeaker to give us the news, and a small bunch of us broke into applause. At home in Melbourne, I'm missing an Obama party. Now I'm in Riverside, and was waiting to feel the euphoria and the buzz, but have been disappointed. My friends here are suitably pleased, but as I walked around this afternoon, the streets were empty. I thought it might be a post-election hangover, but John says "it's the economy." It feels quite different from how it felt when I was last here three years ago.

Anyway, congratulations, America! I think your new guy might be even more of a visionary than our new guy.

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

Thanks everyone, and agreed all around.

Stephanie, California liberals have a good reason to see their joy tempered, considering that the state voted to ban gay marriage. Here in DC, the mood continues to be giddy. A small sign: the latest fad food in this city is upscale cupcakes (do not ask me why as I have no good answer). Yesterday they were all iced blue, and were being devoured with celebratory gusto.

Karl Steel said...

From what I understand, Riverside has been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis, and it's also one of California's conservative counties. This year, it went for Obama (by a pretty healthy margin, too), but the last time it went democratic in a presidential election was 1992, for Clinton (by .5-6%), and that only because Perot was on the ticket. My (wholly uninformed) sense is that Obama voters in Riverside are either voting for Obama because they've lost a lot in their houses, or because the ethnic composition of the county has changed pretty radically over the last 4 years (as McCain won only with white people of my generation and older).

As for elation here though? I felt it, at least in my 10-minute walk to school, where I passed a young guy who greeted his friends with a hearty handclasp, back-slap, hug, and a jolly, incredulous, overjoyed "O-motherfucking-bama! O-motherfucking-bama!" It was beautiful, and absolutely took the edge off my champagne hangover.

The strangest thing for me over the past, oh, day is the utter transformation of how I'm experiencing time. The number of meaningful events in a day geometrically increased (at least it felt that way) over the past few months. It made sense to check my blogs over hour, or more, to check the NY Times 3 or 4 times a day, to swap stories with friends over email frequently. And all that is unnecessary now.

I'm now in this time of stasis, when time seems to have stopped, or to be a time swirling around past time. Once inauguration happens, public time will take up a different speed again, but it will be wending towards something only semi-teleologically. It won't be anything like the rocket trajectory of the campaign.

The question for me becomes, then, what happens to me in time, what happens to my time, when I've outlived the moment for which I've been hoping?

Maybe I'm waiting for my Enid to dislodge me, more or less accidentally, from this nontime?

Joe Fox said...

I don't know that I agree with Karl -- if for no other reason than that Obama and his team don't seem to be wasting any time... have you seen http://www.change.gov? I LOVE the fact that the left panel says "YOUR Administration." That speaks volumes. I'm ordinarily a right-leaning moderate. I'm against abortion for reasons of life -- but I'm pushing everyone I know to allow for gay marriage (or at least some semblance of union that gives them all the rights thereof -- perhaps their own word for the concept, something that isn't based in the same Latin words? http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/marriage )

In any case, I think Obama is putting us on a significantly better track than we've been on (which isn't terribly difficult, given the last 8 years), but we must make sure that we keep "Our" administration ours. If we do that, anything that is the will of the people is in reach.

Kudos for the post!