I missed Bill Clinton's address to the convention Wednesday night. I was out late and didn't get home until 8:30, giving me a chance to at least catch Joe Biden's acceptance speech. So I gave it a listen a few moments ago off of the Democratic National Convention homepage. I've always been fascinated by the Clintons like many other political watchers. The former president's ability to wriggle loose from almost any situation back in the 1990s was fascinating to watch, and of course, he was quite deft at giving a good speech.
There was a lot of mocking of the term "catharsis" that Sen. Clinton used to a group of supporters, but it was great for someone like me who was sick of all the fighting and wanted everyone to go back to at least pretending they like each other, who was tired of the press dining off of manufactured hype night after night, and was tired of being one of the few who felt trapped in the middle, more amused, bemused and confused by the ongoings than angry.
So I felt good about both Clintons' speeches. I realize it won't shut someone like ... let's say ... conservative pundit Leslie Sanchez up. But it was a great "I'm backing Obama. The Clintons are backing Obama. Please STFU about it already, Chris Matthews."
To go with the relief that the Clintonista/Obamanite trench warfare may be over, I'm excited, concerned but would not miss Barack Obama's acceptance speech tonight. The excitement is obvious. Obama's going to accept the nomination. It's historic. And it's happening on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.
It's an amazing coincidence (or a brilliant contrivance) that the Democratic National Convention is going to end on such a note, such a fascinating book end from the historic Civil Rights Era "March on Washington" and to the modern politics of today where blacks have made more and more advances on the national stage, as well as becoming governors. The growth, the progress continues and Obama is evidence of that.
But, please, don't compare him to MLK. Obama is his own revolution. He's a beneficiary of the Civil Rights Movement like myself and countless others, he just chose to mold his benefits into politics and go further than anyone dreamed. Dr. King lost his life fighting for the rights of the black and the poor and for Obama's shot at the Oval Office. For me it's apples and oranges. I think Jackie Robinson is a slightly better -- but still imperfect -- comparison. They share the whole suffrage of the first black person to do something, but ever person's struggle is unique to their own time and circumstances.
I'm concerned about the venue, but not because the Republican's plan to compare him to something cheesy, like Cecile DeMile's "The Ten Commandments" when really William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" with Obama as Marc Anthony and Bill Clinton as Caesar being more apropos.
But that's probably the elitist in me expecting parodies to be much more multifaceted and not mere farces.
My real concern comes from it being so vast with so many people. I don't think anything bad will happen. But that doesn't stop the concern considering all it takes is one whackadoodle.
But I'm not going to focus on such morose things and instead I'll chose to be happy, hopeful and a little optimistic. I still think there's only a fifty-fifty chance of him winning, but the fact that he was able to seize this chance, something that was out-of-reach for so many for so long, and become the first black person to lead a major party ticket earns him a bit of optimism from even the most hardened of political cynics.