According to the Associated Press, “Barack Obama routed Hillary Rodham Clinton” in the South Carolina primary Saturday.
Following his impressive victory, Obama told a crowd of excited supporters, “The choice in this election is not about regions or religions or genders, It’s not about rich versus poor, young versus old and it’s not about black versus white. It’s about the past versus the future.”
We were as jubilant as the people in the crowd, as we had waited for years to hear a presidential candidate who wanted to do more than win.
Anyone who’s paid any attention at all must have noticed that the past has been chiefly notable for our alleged leaders’ plutocratic airs – not just the last seven years under George Bush, who managed to relieve Richard Nixon of the “the worst President in history” title — but the last 45 years.
John F. Kennedy was the last President who saw America as what Abraham Lincoln called “the last, best hope of mankind.” As Lincoln knew in the 1860s, and Franklin Roosevelt knew in the 1930s, Kennedy knew that America is a work-in-progress. The founding fathers deliberately designed a nation that was meant to grow better and wiser and more generous as it grew bigger. They expected their successors to fulfill their promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
That spirit animated Kennedy’s tragically brief run. When he was assassinated in 1963, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy carried on, but it died with them in 1968.
America and its promise have been in cold storage from that time to this, and we have suffered an extended, unprecedented run of awesome avarice, mediocrity and madness in the White House and Congress.
Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W, Bush — each in his fashion saw himself as the sculptor and America as the clay – to be pulled and pushed to suit him and his claque.
After 40 years of pushing and pulling every which way but up and forward, America and its people are in urgent need of a new direction, of change.
In 1862. Lincoln said, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
John Kennedy understood that in his time, and Obama understands it here and now, and that is why he’s winning votes, and influencing people.
After he won the Iowa democratic primary, Obama said. “In the unlikely story that is America, there is no such thing as false hope.”
Hope has fueled this country’s proudest and most profound ccomplishments, and it has been absent for some time.
Clearly, Obama has identified the problems that beset us, and knows that they must be solved if the long- dormant promise of America is to be revived.
Unlike all the recent Presidents and all the other candidates, he does not aspire to be America’s boss but its leader-in-chief, guiding us out of the swamp that our recent bosses have made of it and back to the high ground.
California has long been America’s leading edge and, given that, it must give Obama its enthusiastic support In the February 5 primary.