A Year of Morning Thanks
This round of Presidential sweepstakes have been unique right from the get-go, perhaps because, for a long time, the two candidates creating the biggest headlines were not white males. Poor pasty McCain, who everyone describes as a maverick, can hardly be all that maverick-ish when contrasted with an authentic African-American. Yet, his having been a maverick is absolutely essential to his success; were he a traditional Republican, there would be no race at all.
Then, too, there's the near total demise of the religious right, whose traditional leaders are either silent, no longer with us, or simply disregarded. Who could have guessed the dissolution of that group could have happened so quickly or totally? Amazing.
And now Obama has begun a world tour. Everyone is watching--the entire world. And the commentators here at home are stressing the importance of his tightroping. On the one hand, it's important for Americans to see him as someone who will break through the animosity which has existed throughout the world toward the U.S. since the Iraq war; when Europeans hail him with big crowds, a new kind of world leader will be obvious. On the other hand, Obama has to be wary of some kind of premature coronation: if Europeans fall all over him, will the American electorate rebel? No master writer could have created such an unusual scenario.
Last week, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who has been Bush's own man in Baghdad, appeared to agree with Obama on a timetable for a troop withdrawal in Iraq, his own people even using the word. Go figure.
It's a mess, but messes have a way of birthing new orders. I suppose how one looks at all of this depends greatly on how one sees what's immediately behind us. But then, the Republicans have selected a maverick, and the Democrats finally thumbed out the most prominent Democrat in the last two decades. Nothing is "traditional" here--nothing at all. We're in a topsy-turvy world, politically.
Actually, I still think--as I have in the past--that it's all a lot of fun.