Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Strange Alchemy

A comment from ProfWombat at Eschaton this morning:

Something happened to Obama, and to a lot of us as we watched. I'm old enough to recall well what happened with Robert F. Kennedy, McCarthyite lawyer and union buster, carpetbagger, opportunist, who, for reasons still unclear to me, grew into as decent, courageous and significant a politician as I've seen in this country.

Obama's become more than he has a right to have become, not because of his merits alone, which, while considerable, don't elevate him to Olympian heights. There's a strange alchemy afoot, in which a good part of the country has been given an opportunity to reject despair, to hope that even incremental progress can be made against the thousand unnatural shocks that we've been heir to, that American democracy need not be pronounced as dead as the Weimar Republic, nor American industry as dead as Digital Equipment, Polaroid and the Edsel, nor America's role in the world that of a destroyer rather than a builder, that of a champion of humanity rather than a militaristic bully. That's a lot, but it isn't just on Obama's shoulders; we'll all carry it, and maybe, just maybe, move forward with it, into a future that's somewhere between millennial and Mad Max, where human lives mean something and there's pleasure to be had in the satisfaction of public appetites for good, as well as private indulgences cloistered in gated communities.

So I'm going to vote today. I'm taking my kids with me. I'll tell them I'm voting for them. And for the Muslims, the women, the prisoners, the scientists, the teachers, the nurses, the human rights lawyers, the polar bears; for all those who say, 'How can I help?' instead of 'What's in it for me?', for all those who make of being human something approaching the magical. And for myself, for all my fallen brothers and sisters, for a half century's worth of hopes and fears, for possibility rather than cynicism, for a chance, just a chance.

For Barack Obama, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have made it possible for me to vote for him today, thinking he might be president of the United States.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

-- ProfWombat

Meander - I can barely see through the tears, posting this.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

brilliant as usual, prof.

November 04, 2008 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Roadmaster said...

I am honored to be in the midst of someone so beautifully eloquent.

November 04, 2008 11:32 AM  
Blogger steve simels said...

What roadmaster said.

And I might add that I can't believe I'm actually allowing myself a certain optimism and pride about the results of this election, but I am....

November 04, 2008 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, as always, my friend. I'm only half-joking when I say that we need to run Wombat for Senate when Teddy the K inevitably steps down.
- bill buckner

November 04, 2008 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Itchy Brother said...

Well said prof.

I would not be surprised to see data showing an improvement in the physical health of this country over the next few months. Hope and the anticipation of an improved future can do wonders for one's physical wellbeing.

November 04, 2008 12:17 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

ProfWombat, that's going on my office door today.

November 04, 2008 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, everybody

It's an honor and a privilege to be amongst you today.

Yours, ProfWombat

November 04, 2008 5:07 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

Profwombat, the eyes were indeed kept on the prize. :)

Beautiful post.

November 05, 2008 3:17 AM  

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