My husband and I spent five hours last night watching the coverage of the South Carolina primaries. We live four states away from South Carolina; our primary election isn’t until March 4.
I’ve always been a political junkie, it’s true. But it’s more than that. My husband said it this morning: “I want to revel in this moment.” Maybe it’s a small moment, maybe it will be over tomorrow morning, quashed by some dark revelation or dirty trick. It may be infinitesimally small, a nanosecond against the span of time. But it is ours right now.
Far more important than the strategies and tactics of political campaigning is the future of our country. I see a glimmer of a divine spark when I watch Obama speak, not just in his eyes, but in the eyes of those who are listening too. Every time Barack Obama speaks, I see a spark of that future and it gives me hope.
I’m acutely aware of the danger of attaching too much meaning, investing too much power in one human being’s ability to move others. History and literature offer up dozens of cautionary tales. But they also offer us shining examples of those who deserved the accolades, who earned the praise of a grateful nation: Washington, Lincoln, and yes, Kennedy.
This is no time for slouchers, for apathy, for politics as usual or the status quo. If we thought much was at stake in 2004, imagine how much more is at stake in 2008: our standing in the world, the strength of our armies, the prosperity of our neighbors, the food on our table, the very air that we breathe. Hyperbole? In the wrong hands—or, perhaps worse, the same hands they are in today—our country could very well face the same fate as the Soviet Union. History does have a tendency to repeat itself when leaders do not heed its lessons. All the more fitting for Senator Obama to say this in last night’s speech:
The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It’s not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white.
It’s about the past versus the future.