Tuesday, July 27, 2004

New Kid on the Block

The 'D' party in Boston continues, with speeches from the Last Great Liberal and the man who energized the democratic base. But it was the new guy from Illinois, the guy whom I'd never heard of until tonight practically, who captured my head and heart. Barack Obama, who spoke for the first time to a national audience, who managed to weave together a heartfelt and brilliant speech.

Here's where Obama got me: In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here-the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!

Lucky Illinois, lucky America, to have such a man on its side.

No comments: