Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Respect

Yesterday, Premium T. and I went to fundraiser headlined by President Obama.

For about a half hour, he gave an expansive, funny, and optimistic speech that attacked Republicans for counting on voter amnesia and for offering nothing but cynicism and fear. Obama told a Lincolnesque anecdote about a man and a woman (the fundraiser was for Washington senator Patty Murray) who struggled mightily to get a car out a ditch while the driver looked on (sipping a Slurpee, according to the president). Just when the car was back on the road, the driver held out his hand and demanded the keys.

As he finished, I though to myself that this man and his family wake up every morning to an unrelenting torrent of vile racism from the right, a flood of invective that half the left ennobles as economic populism. He persists with a system so stacked against change that mediocrities like Scott Brown, toadies like Mary Landrieu, megalomaniacs like Joe Lieberman, frightened rabbits like Blanche Lincoln, hacks like Ben Nelson, and cynical hypocrites like Olympia Snowe can actually mold legislation simply by threatening to block it, and claim to stand on principle when they do.

And yet, Barack Obama can smile and tell us with conviction that we can believe in the American capacity for goodness and achievement. Me, I don't have that kind of courage or commitment, and I doubt that many do. Anyone who does, deserves respect even from those who disagree with him...

Bob Cesca on Ground Zero and the profaning of Gettysburg. What has happened to Gettysburg is why I revere this place, which is by comparison haunted and pure...



12 comments:

Foxessa said...

I wonder if we'll make to any of these battle grounds during our MD sojourn. Our era is post-Revolionary - early America, and the antebellum period, not the War itself and after.

Love, C.

Roy said...

I grew up within easy visiting distance of both Antietam and Gettysburg. 40 and 50 years ago Gettysburg wasn't as bad as it is now. The problem is that the battle happened in an already well-populated and established town, and after the war the town continued to grow and eventually overgrew the various battlegrounds, until the federal government finally stepped in and preserved some areas as National Park property.

Antietam is a whole different story; the battle happened in sparsely populated country that stayed sparsely populated after the war, and so avoided the urban growth that was Gettysburg's fate. It's not so much a question of "purity" as it is one of location; what happened to Gettysburg happened because the engagement took place in a growing, thriving, populous area.

nursemyra said...

If I were an American I'd vote for Obama. Wish we had someone like him to vote for here in Australia then I'd be more excited about going to the polls on Saturday

Scrumpy said...

What a great experience. Thanks for sharing it with us.

TaraDharma said...

Did you happen to hear Olbermann's special comment the other night? Hallowed ground, my arse. Think of all the hallowed ground belonging to Native Americans that we have built upon in our history. Of course Republican schmucks are exploiting this issue for their political purposes: shame on them.

tnlib said...

I just wish Obama would stand up to these morons "all" the time. I still like him and will campaing and vote for him.

I believe you already know what I think about all those rat finks. But I always like to have reinforcement and I do appreciate your link to Bob Cesca's article.

K. said...

Foxessa, Roy: Antietam is a special place, even if it benefits from an accident of geography. One reason is that it was so bloody and so indecisive. The Union checked an invasion attempt but could have accomplished with better leadership. Lee should have learned, but didn't, that battling the Army of the Potomac north of the Mason-Dixon line was a different kettle of fish and that taking the offensive wasn't a good. Antietam did give Lincoln the ammunition he needed to can McClellan once and for all.

BTW, a good subject for a book would be a study of key president-general relationships during wartime. Lincoln-McClellan, Lincoln-Grant, Roosevelt-Eisenhower, Truman-MacArthur, Kennedy-Taylor, Johnson-Westmoreland, and Bush-Schwarzkopf, and Bush-Franks all come to mind. (The military historian Andrew Bacevich is extremely critical of the latter two generals.)

TD The hallowed ground thing is thin gruel, but people dig in as if it were steak. Another thing -- and Foxessa may want to correct me on this -- is that two blocks in Manhattan is not the same as two blocks in Kingsville, TX. The area around GZ is not a grid of single-story houses, either. Conceivably, you could be two blocks from GZ and not even know it was there.

tnlib: I can tell you that he was direct, relaxed, and unequivocal, so much so that anyone there couldn't be blamed for wondering if the media was picking cherries to fit a narrative that it had already written or that it had allowed the right-wing media to dictate. That includes the left-wing media, which by and large sucks.

K. said...
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K. said...
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Communications guru said...

Great post. Glad I discovered your blog. Thanks for your kind words on mine.

Rastamick61 said...

Great job K. the Bob Cesca piece brings to mind the President who told us to go shopping now that terrorists had struck on American soil. Who are they trying to bamboozle with this hallowed ground crap ? In the ATl airport we heard terror alert updates and were informed that we are now at Orange. I laughed out loud and asked are they still doing that ? Seriously ?