Barack Obama: Another Man of Hope
by Mac Walton, aka, MacDaddy
Yes, a tall, skinny guy with a funny name is running for president of the United States.
Yes, he appeals to loyal blacks, Latinos, idealistic youth, liberals, progressives, committed unions, and thinking independents. And, yes, when he speaks, those within earshot of him begin to clap hands, stump their feet and chant to the top of their lungs. And, when the tall skinny kid with the funny name begins to weave a tale of patriotism, hard work, hopes and dreams, when his voice rises to a crescendo like a Lucian Pavarotti aria ending in the high C's, young girls in pretty dresses jump out of their seats and begin to dance deliriously, spinning like couples at a Saturday night hoedown in rural Tennessee.
"We can hope once we realize we have more in common than we have apart. We can change once we know that we have the true power: that power comes not from the top but from the ground up. We can take back White House and take back the country once we know that true power comes from us. When you say, "Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!"
But back in the day, another young US senator ran for president of the United States. No, he wasn't especially tall, and he didn't have a funny name. But, like the skinny kid, he had above-average intelligence, a calming effect upon everyone he met, and an absolutely disarming smile. He was the charmer
Like the tall, skinny kid with the funny name, the charmer believed in change-- change in terms of getting out of a war into which we never should have gotten involved in the first place, and change in developing a mindset where we only go to war as a last resort. Whereas the skinny kid wants to get out of Iraq, the charmer wanted to end our invasion and occupation of Vietnam. Like the skinny kid, the charmer wanted to take funding used to purchase planes and guns and to burn down villages and redirect those monies toward rebuilding America: improving education, putting Americans back to work, improving its neglected infrastructure...healing its racial and moral wounds.
The charmer viewed our propensity for war as going far beyond politics or greed. On Face the Nation, November 26, 1967, he clearly framed our illegal occupation in Vietnam as a moral issue:
"For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked for us. The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American society."
In his own way, the charmer was agreeing with the tall, skinny kid with the funny name: "Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
But they say all good things must come to an end. The charmer was assassinated in 1968. Still, if the charmer were around today, he would say to the tall, skinny kid with the funny name the same thing that his brother, Senator Ted Kennedy, said: "Well done, my son. Well done."