in storage since the wingnuts bought all the rights: my old, yellowing 48-star flag
I have had a very hard time getting as excited as most of my friends and acquaintances are about Obama's candidacy, perhaps especially during the time he was coming closer to being the Democratic candidate and then to being chosen to occupy the office of President itself. I admit I'm spoiled: I've always had difficulty settling for less than what I want or, in this case, for less than what is needed by my country.
Yes, part of it's because I'm politically far to the left at least of the image the candidate presents of himself, but I also believe that we have nothing but our fragile hopes to support any belief that Obama will have both the imagination and courage to do as President what absolutely must be done. The extremity of our current crisis requires an even more ambitious agenda, in both domestic and foreign policy, than what was required of FDR in 1933, and I see no evidence that anyone is fully aware of this, including the candidate - perhaps especially the candidate.
We're in big trouble, and I don't think we understand yet what's wrong.
But I also worry that we are too anxious to lay the blame for our shame and misery, and the responsibility for our redemption and relief, solely on someone our system puts in charge of things. Neither Bush and Cheney nor the people and corporations who created them are fully to blame; after all, almost 50% of voters approved their candidacy - twice! At the same time, we won't find our way out of this mess if we think our own responsibility ends after next Tuesday.
The October 27 issue of The New Yorker includes this letter from a reader which beautifully lays out the sense of what I've just touched on:
While I agree with your editorial support for Barack Obama, the challenges of national leadership are greater than simply choosing the right candidate (Comment, October 13th). Our preoccupations - consumer profligacy, national myths, and denial of the rest of the world - may not result in the best choice of leadership, as the second Bush term so clearly demonstrates. The question is whether we can make the personal sacrifices necessary to change ourselves, or whether we believe that change is only about what leadership we select. The original patriots risked their lives for what they believed. No one is asking that of us; just that we vote with care and with attention to our enduring values, and realize that there is more to being good citizens than going to the polls.
South Orleans, Mass.