Dream a Little Dream Redux

by matttbastard

A dream fulfilled? Perhaps that’s just a bit presumptuous, as Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Callahan observes, noting that today, as in Dr. King’s era, “black people [in America] have statistically twice the bad and half of the good things in life.” Tony Campbell chimes in with an additional note of caution, reminding us that “the inauguration of an African-American male is a good first step towards Dr. King’s goal; but it is NOT the dream itself” and advises that we not conflate Obama with Dr. King because the President-elect “is a politician and Dr. King never wanted to be one.”

The politician and the activist

But the sentiment expressed by USian people of colour in that CNN/Opinion Research poll is indicative of the heady optimism surrounding the impending inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama II, soon to be the 44th president of the United States of America. And I believe that if Dr. King had lived (oh, if he had lived) to witness this moment, he too would have been bawlin’ like a baby alongside Jesse Jackson on that fateful night in Grant Park; that he would have celebrated his 80th birthday by doing what he dedicated his life to (and made the ultimate sacrifice for): serving his community.

800px-lyndon_johnson_and_martin_luther_king_jr_-_voting_rights_act

So, on Wednesday, we can start preparing ourselves for the disappointment that, for a number of reasons, the chattering class has declared to be all-but-inevitable (and that some plan to intentionally cultivate and further by any means necessary). But today? Today is a day of remembrance, tomorrow, of celebration– for both the (likely fleeting) realization of American history’s long-delayed promise and the triumph of possibility redefined to perhaps boundless margins.

Yes, you damn right we did (and, even though we’re starting to drown the public commons with ridiculously overwrought superlatives, I still think it feels like the fucking end of Star Wars).

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President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama Recalibrates Our Sense of the Possible

by matttbastard

(Full text, as prepared for delivery)

Still speechless, mute with awe, blissfully overwhelmed by the weight of history in action. Going to take a few days to shoulder the significance and sort through the myriad emotions.

So, until then, what Leonard Pitts, Jr. said:

For most of the years of the American experiment, “we the people” did not include African Americans. We were not included in “we.” We were not even included in ‘‘people.”

What made it galling was all the flowery words to the contrary, all the perfumed lies about equality and opportunity. This was, people kept saying, a nation where any boy might grow up and become president. Which was only true, we knew, as long as it was indeed a boy and as long as the boy was white.

But as of today, we don’t know that anymore. What this election tells us is that the nation has changed in ways that would have been unthinkable, unimaginable, flat out preposterous, just 40 years ago. And that we, black, white and otherwise, better recalibrate our sense of the possible.

Or, alternatively, what Gary (happy birthday!) said:

“It’s like the fucking end of Star Wars!”

President Barack Hussein Obama.

Savour that name, be proud of it. It is, as Juan Cole said, “an American name.”

(note: Spent last night at an election party hosted by the local chapter of Democrats Abroad, and the mood was, as one would expect, delirious.  A tip of the plaid fedora to co-chairs Ed Goehring and Gena Gruschovnikfor throwing a mean shingdig.  Hope to see both of you again soon–and congratulations.)

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