Friday, February 29, 2008
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
It made me cry, in a good way. I'd forgotten how much I want to believe in this country, and how long it has been since I could.
When I was a young man, in the 80's, Ronald Reagan had been elected and I though that was the end of the world. We ran Mondale in '84, hopeless from the start, plus he was not my kind of politician anyway, he was just what we had.
My heroes, JFK, MLK, Malcolm X, and Bobby Kennedy had all been gunned down, but I still believed in the promise of the documents that held the promise of a free and prosperous people--the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I kept a little book that I bought at the LBJ Library that contained both documents in it with me at all times, it finally fell apart.
An interesting metaphor.
I translated the Declaration of Independence into Latin my senior year in college as a class project. My rendering lacked the beauty of the English, but it caused me to really get to know it in a way that I never had--backwards and forwards, every sentence parsed and semantically analyzed. I worked so hard on it, I got a B and couldn't care less about it. It wasn't the Latin I learned that held my lesson.
Then we got another crappy candidate in 88, I worked for the party but lacked any real fire in the belly. In 92, Paul Begala ran the campus Democrats at UT, that was a leg up into the Clinton campaign when he got the nomination, I got into the real heart of a national campaign, which was both inspirational and disheartening.
I bit my lip, and even though Clinton was far too ruthless for my tastes I decided that this was better than another four years of Bush, and it was. Then his fucking idiot fraud moron coke-head son decided to run for Governor of Texas in 1994 and with my 92 resume I got a pretty good slot in the Richards campaign deciding I could at least cut that off at the pass.
It was probably somewhere in there that I lost my youthful hope and I began to fall away from working in politics for any other reason than to stand against the criminal plutocracy of the politics of hate and greed. I wasn't working for Gore or Kerry, I was working against the forces of destruction.
More hope lost.
But, when I watched this video I remembered my dorm room in the early 80's. I had hand-lettered quotes from Bobby, Martin, Jack and brother Malcolm up in my room, things to remind me and inspire me. Things that made me believe that the world I would grow old in would be a fair, clean, and hopeful world that lifted people up and spread the fruits of human progress to all who were fortunate enough to be born in my wake. When I sang "We Shall Overcome" I believed it.
I wept for that 22 year old self when I saw this video.