an all-American mutt...
I just heard Barack Obama's first press conference, and I am impressed all over again with how pleased I am with my choice for president of the United States. He is so serious, pragmatic and sober, and gets right down to business. When he tells a joke, you know it's a joke, and he has the humor of our young people, not the humor of the old fuddy-duddies, god-bless-their-hearts. I loved the Nancy Reagan toss-off.
I wanted to say more about why I entitled my last post 'Hallelujah.' It wasn't just because an African-American has been elected as president, but because we need someone of Barack Obama's caliber to lead our nation, and now he is here. I really was beginning to believe that a sense of civic duty had disappeared from our land - apart from those who feel the call to fight the war way over there in Iraq. I'm not sure how that war protects or benefits us, so I'm not sure quite how it relates to civic duty, but serving in the armed forces has always traditionally been seen as a civic duty, and I think in most cases it is.
Anyway, I believe that Barack Obama can revive our flagging sense of civic duty, of unity as Americans, no matter what our race or ethnicity - and especially generate an enthusiasm for civic duty among the young. It would be so great to see a return of that Spirit, which has been missing for so long. The fact that he is African-American is like some kind of fabulous bonus.
People probably think I'm a white liberal who is enthused about an African-American or 'mixed-race' person as president-elect. It isn't just that. In fact, I'm not sure I really fit the white liberal profile. I was brought up in an African-American neighborhood to feel that the fate of the African-American people was intimately tied up with my own. Now, why would that be, you might ask? Well, my father used to lovingly call me a mutt all the time. My mother, ever trying to exclude me from the 'moor' element in our family, (even though our home was permeated by it on sub-surface levels), tried to stop him, until she realized that I interpreted the 'Heinz 57 different varieties' label as referring to mixed European heritage. So she allowed it.
Among our class of people, the term 'mutt' was a term of endearment. I found it interesting to see that the white media people who ensconced themselves during the Bush era mentioned the Mutt remark immediately as a sign that Barack seemed 'punchy.' I notice they use all sorts of pejorative words in relation to him that have never been applied to our current president who used to seem positively high on something during many of his press conferences. He performed like one of the clowns in Philadelphia's Mummer's Parade, deflecting our attention while major floats drifted right past our eyes, landing us in this delightful crisis we are now in. Can all the blame be placed at the current administration's door? No, not all, but I think it's fair to say, most. Just the cost of the Iraq war alone, and the derailment of federal aid to states and cities into 'Homeland Security' ('yeah, right') has been enough to upset the apple-cart. They gobbled up all that nice surplus the evil Clinton administration amassed for the American people, and just went on from there. The Pied Piper of good cheer and down-home ungrammatical humor leading us down the primrose path.
I understand what Barack Obama means when he says 'a mutt like me.' Like me.