International Writers Magazine: Politics USA
Speech + Readers Letters
Inside Barack Obama's Bold Sonnet To Our Bitter Demons & Better
For 37 minutes
on the18th day of March 2008, Barack Obama, junior senator from
Illinois and leading Democratic candidate for president of the United
States, delivered as brutally candid a speech about race, human
nature, and the forces for change that lie between them as intellectually
was the first time in the history of this nation, a candidate for high
office, or any office for that matter, addressed the hard truth about
its deepest, most festering wound; a self-inflicted lesion so profoundly
absurd and odious it stands to this day as the greatest failure in America's
boldly infinite quest for equality.
Obama, son of a black Kenyan man and white mother from Kansas, not only
addressed the realities of cultural divides in the most direct of terms,
but ripped open wide the scabs that we've been less-than gently picking
at for decades of riots, marches, assassinations and defiantly booming
rhetoric, but also let slip from our subconscious at dining room tables
and private parties.
It may have been political suicide. It may have been transparently self-serving.
But it was without valid refute brilliantly honest and long overdue.
It had to be said, and it had to be said by him, the first
truly legitimate African American presidential candidate.
It also had to be written and spoken as eloquently and
forcefully as it was, and it had to be done now.
It had to be done on the heels of one solid week, hour
after hour, of rip-roaring lunacy from another religious/politico psycho
by the conspicuous name of Jeremiah Wright, former pastor from something
called the Trinity United Church of Christ. The man who married Obama,
baptized his kids, and originally hailed from the church the candidate
has clung to like a life preserver as he was accused from every corner
of being a Muslim, as if it were the crime of all crimes, on 60 Minutes,
the Internet wilderness, and by his smarmy opponent.
A Muslim? Imagine the horrors of that?
What a crock it all is, this grab-ass cloak of religious
righteousness we demand from our public servants, who are forced to
lip-service our superstitions and by association are abducted by the
cauldron of separatist hate-speech and fire and brimstone diatribes
aimed at everything not falling in line.
It is a sick and terrible world we enter in these Houses
of the Lord, closed-door meetings of the flock, who look to the pulpit
for atavistic pandering submentals to spew personal angst against whatever
So here was Barack Obama, standing in the birthplace of
liberty, draped in racist innuendo and religious madness, evoking the
words of Thomas Jefferson and William Faulkner, referencing the O.J.
Simpson murder trial and the Katrina disaster, deconstructing the social
and cultural ramifications of Affirmative Action and Jim Crow, using
the widest array of colloquialisms and slang from "gangbanging"
to "the laziness of welfare".
Fucking amazing is what it was. Shockingly, mind-numbingly
crazed. I literally laughed out loud during it. Chills and laughter;
these are my tenets; the bare essentials of why I wandered into writing
about this miserable shit in the first place.
This was history. Real history. Not this fabricated televised
nonsense we're force-fed like lab rats. It was revolution in words.
Striking words. Distinct words. No surrender in them. Powerful stuff.
This was a man not only running for president, a black
man no less, but a frontrunner down by nearly 20 points in a crucial
primary state, peering out into the glare of lights, poised microphones,
scribbling pads, and the one-eyed monster that had been tearing pieces
from him for seven long days, delivering the goods. This was not a cultural
leader like Martin Luther King or a radical voice of a fringe movement
like Malcolm X. This was not a professorial university discussion or
a stand-up routine by Chris Rock.
This was a minority candidate for president of the United
States, and he was not running for cover, offering up rhetorical apologies
or lame excuses. He was not rising above the issue like Jackie Robinson
or dancing around it like James Brown. Instead, Barack Obama dove headfirst
without a hint of remorse, embracing his race while deftly looking beyond
it, as his campaign has claimed to strive for since its inception.
It is not even fair to pull quotes from the thing without
missing its nuances. It would be like playing you 40 seconds of Miles
Davis' "So What" and pulling the plug or offering up "When
I'm Sixty Four" and claiming it captures Sgt. Pepper's. Fuck that
noise. Listen to it. Read it. Watch it. It's all over the net. If you
haven't seen it all the way through and do not emerge at least in awe
of the type of person who dares to provide a tangible, concrete opinion
on a passionate, divisive subject while also trying to sucker you out
of a vote, then I'm sorry, we're not watching the same game.
What Obama was able to do for what basically constituted
29 out of 37 minutes (the other eight or nine minutes were admittedly
jammed with pandering populist stuff) was box Pastor Wright and everyone
who clings to old grudges as some kind of badge of courage, and told
them it is time to let go. Change for real. No more of the same anger
Baby Boomers harbor for the Left and the Right; the old guard, the has-beens,
the jesters on radio and brooding curmudgeons at the typewriters and
the creaky bones using up space on Capitol Hill. They all have axes
to grind. They all have a point, black and white. Everyone is mad with
envy, disdain, fear, and posturing, but Obama says, for his part --
and it has steadily become a very significant part in all of this --
that he will abstain, thank you very much.
And here is where the purported Candidate of Change officially
crosses the generational divide. Here is where if found yourself supporting
what has heretofore been a showcase of progressive goofiness, you can
begin to believe this guy may actually mean it.
Look, there was always very little chance a black man
would ever be elected president of a country forty years removed from
his race being denied access to eateries, public bathrooms or hotel
accommodations. It is a nothing short of a miracle and a testament to
this great nation's force of progress he stands before a crowd of predominately
white middleclass journalists in the city of our birthing and pitches
his domestic or international policies much less how and why we are
pandemically incapable of looking beyond a person's skin or gender or
religious affiliation in these infant years of the 21st century.
But then isn't it ever more shocking when you consider
America currently fights and dies halfway across the globe in a desert
where the kind of religious, racial and cultural chasm has grown as
a cancer for centuries, while we are less than two centuries removed
from our own bloody Civil War.
Glory, glory, Halleluiah.
Campion March 24th 2008
It is amazing to me that can declare this Republican nominee process
over before mid-February. (GOODBYE SUPER TUESDAY Okay, it doesn't look
good for Mitt Romney, but there is still Mike Huckabee, and he will
soldier on, if nothing else but for conservatives, both social and fiscal
(even though it appears his fiscal conservatism is in some question)
but John McCain stands for no position, and this will not fly in a year
where the Democrats are not only getting a two-to-one advantage in voter
registration and attendance in these caucuses, but this abysmal economy
coming around the corner and really no end in sight for this Iraq Occupation
(as you like to call it).
I think the process must will out. There has to be a voice
for some corner of conservatism in this party, even if you deride it
as a fantasy and it seems like many of the Right Wing talk show hosts
agree. And I know this makes you cringe to consider it, but it is true.
Lately Rush and Hannity and all the rest sound very much like you, harkening
Goldwater and Reagan (although they do not consider Reagan a "myth"
as you so smugly argue).
Anyway, pay attention to the Republicans, not just this
circus the Hillary and Obama supporters want you to. There will be blood!
I thought it was all going to be over by Super Tuesday? Where are all
the Hillary Machiniacs now?
Seriously, though, I see much trouble down the line. What
are Hillary and Hubby going to do now they don't have this wrapped up
and this guy on the other side has got the Big Mo! Where are all those
promises of an end-gaming beating on the big-state votes? Now what happens
if she is languished until summer? Is she toast? Will she sling the
Can we dream?
Where do your cats
stand on abortion and gun control? I like their chances in '12.
What happens to Michigan delegates and yes, the Florida voting polls?
Obama's money is from many grassroots supporters, but don't think Oprah's
money, with real estate investments in Hawaii and the Asian-Pacific
Hawaiian connections to the Bishop Estate Trust, isn't being laundered
to campaign supporters around the U.S. Check out the blind ambition
at: Goldman Sachs, Chinagate political funds -- John Huang and Pardongate
(Marc Rich -- SEC fugitive financier now in Europe).
I don' think Howard Dean and the DNC want to broker a
"Fair and Balanced' political convention in Denver.
Would be great if you are right about the demise of the 2-party system.
(INDEPENDENCE RULES -- Issue: 2/20/08)
As for Billary ... watch out for the 'super' delegates.
As you know, I feel about Billary the way that the Roman
senator Cicero (I think it was) felt about Carthage ... at the end of
every speech on the senate floor, not matter what he was talking about,
he would say, "And by the way, I think we should burn Carthage."
Vive les independents!
This breakdown of
the schizophrenic disillusioned Clinton Campaign is far more on the
money and brutally honest than anything I have read in the lame-ass
Times or anywhere else. (THE EMPEROR'S NEW FACTORY GIRL -- Issue: 3/12/08)
I am tired of these lazy journalistic monoliths pretending events are
rolling along nicely for their bemusement. They do not comprehend the
darkest side of our collective nature in this country. You do.
Completely and dominantly.
Have a drink, dude, you win!
The fact is there is a bunch of people responsible for the survival
of Madame Hillary. First off is Rush Limbaugh. Rush, stealing a page
from the Democratic playbook of crossing over to vote for McCain, convinced
hardcore Dittoheads to go to the polls and "keep the national soap
opera" going. You can also thank a fawning national media that
broadcast faintings at Obama rallies like the resurrected Christ was
on the Democrat ballot. Finally, you can thank people so tired of Bush
that they would sooner believe in Obama than to believe in nothing at
Hillary has no other choice. It's not like she can wait
another 4 or 8 years. Her time is now and she knows it, which is why
she is fighting with every last ounce of hubris she has. Face it, this
is her party and she can do what she wants with it. If she pulls a Nero
and torches the party that's OK because she is still Senator in one
of the most blue of the blue states (she's safe) and Bubba is making
phat cash on the speaking tour. If the Democrat Party goes down in flames
they can survive, walk away from it and blame the Republicans to an
all-too sympathetic public.
Didn't Mel Brooks once say..."It's Good To Be The
I love the fact that this Democratic primary season is going down to
the wire, so voters have a legit chance to investigate who they are
voting for and not just rubber-stamping some party favorite picked after
three contests. After watching numerous debates, it is clear to me that
old Hillary actually has ideas and plans and understands specific issues
much better than Obama. Like Bubba, who was the master, her attention
to detail and minutia is impressive and speaks of that great catch phrase
"gravitas." On the other hand, Obama's brains and potential
and message of hope and unity is welcomed indeed, but I think his overly
general feel-good message has started to wear a tad thin and people
wonder exactly what he would do as president, really?
The Clintons are cut throat, indeed, and to survive Barack
will end up doing some mud slinging himself, but ultimately it should
be who will do the better job.
Would Hillary be a paranoid Nixon figure hated by half
the country but perhaps feared or respected by "rivals" in
Russia, China and the Middle East? Or maybe she ends up being a pragmatic
leader who champions women's rights across the country and the world
while standing up for the little guy in tough economic times? Is Obama
the fresh face, the Black Kennedy who would restore pride in Americans
at home and trust abroad while ending a foolish war, or would he be
the next Jimmy Carter who never could figure out what to do with his
power and was run roughshod by extreme outside forces?
We may never know either way if McCain takes the prize,
the pseudo-Eisenhower figure, who is "a good guy" but nothing
special or risky to voters.
Democrats are Burning
unabated immolation of the Democratic Party, ceremoniously sparked with
extreme prejudice by the Clinton Machine two weeks ago, has now officially
become a raging firestorm.
Emperor's New Factory Girl
The Madam Shoo-In Shuck Jive Express
is only one book ever written worth a damn on the subject of politics,
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