Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Barack in Brooklyn













I left a crush of bodies so dense that it almost knocked me down on several occasions and tapped out a short text message to a few friends:

I JUST SHOOK HANDS WITH BARACK OBAMA.

One of the playful replies came back: WOW! WERE ANY AILMENTS MYSTERIOUSLY HEALED?

JUST MY CYNICISM, I retorted.

Perhaps that’s stretching it and perhaps my response was just as mischievous as his. But on some level, I typed what I did in complete candor.

I came to hear Obama speak to a packed, enthusiastic banquet hall in Brooklyn because he represents something utterly unique in my lifetime. I’ve experienced statesman I’ve liked, admired and perhaps even loved. But I’ve never encountered one who has inspired me. Not like this.

“Thank you,” a friend of mine said when meeting Obama shortly after his now-famous Democratic Convention address, “for proving the world of Jeb Bartlett can be real.” Indeed.

Barack Obama is the first politician to ever give me hope. “I’m a hope-monger,” he admitted. “Guilty as charged.”

Half preacher, half presidential contender, Obama energized the explosive throng not by shredding Republicans (though there was a little of that) but by appealing to the common unity within us all to throw our shoulders to the wheel and move history.

“We rise and fall as one,” Obama said. “We all matter to each other. If one of us hurts, we all hurt. If one of us succeeds, we all succeed."

15 Comments:

Anonymous deon said...

Wow Brandon! I've had the pleasure of dancing for our Presidential Candidate, on more than one occasion, in Chicago. I attended CMDC where his beautiful daughters attended Ballet. I've also had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with his wife on more than one occasion, and she is a very lovely Woman. I am thinking that he will be a pretty tough candidate to beat, but only time will tell.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Jon C. Fibbs said...

It's called group hysteria. Even Hitler knew how to please crowds. Every charlatan in the book knows how to exploit large eager masses. Hey, try this: ignore what he says and look at what he does. Words are cheap. I recommend you re-read your Champ article.

His words strike me as pretty collectivist. So maybe he will live up to them after all.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Ah Jon, I knew this post would draw you out of semi-retirement my anarchist brother.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!

10:46 AM  
Anonymous nate said...

I actually *was* impressed, but I like a good joke; I wasn't being cynical/sarcastic when I texted that. Obama moves me too, in a way.
Clinton's completely out for you?

10:54 AM  
Blogger robyn said...

Not to be Debbie Downer BUT I felt the same way when I met Bill Clinton and what a neo-conservative joke most of his policies turned out to be. Let's hope Obama does better - if he even wins the primary ...

11:07 AM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Just can’t get into Clinton. Blame it on my ultra-conservative upbringing in which she was reviled even more than her husband, or the fact that I just don’t find her authentic, real or remotely approachable despite a recent aligning of our politics. If she is the nominee and her opponent is one more Bush clone, the decision will be easy. But right now, Obama is my man.

My wife is convinced I would not be impressed with any female nominee. I disagree. I think it is just this female nominee. The idea of a female president is intoxicating, but I’m just not sure I want that groundbreaking event to be Clinton’s.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

His opposition, while a state senator in Illinois, to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act is more than chilling. How can you rationalize the fact that he opposed a bill that would make it illegal to resuscitate a baby that survived an abortion. Not to mention the "third way/better way" broken record he keeps playing is right out of Bill Clinton's hand book. I'm not yet prepared to compare him to Hitler as your brother has done, but you might want to consider his voting record. How is little Fibbs doing these days?

1:28 PM  
Anonymous nate said...

He's a fraud! Fraud I say! He doesn't stand for hope at all; he stands for Death to Babies!!

2:41 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Ah, the latest Nate vs. Chris battle. Hold on a sec while I go get some popcorn...

2:43 PM  
Blogger Jon C. Fibbs said...

Chris, I'm good bro. Thanks for asking. By the by...I wasn't comparing Obama to Hitler per se, just all politicians in general, 99.9% of whom lie through their teeth and say absolutly anything (although never of substance) to get elected. Hitler was simply well known for his stage presence so I picked him.

But seriously though, haven't any of you ever been to a concert?! When you get into a auditorium filled with pumped up fans of whatever, the group always serves to further excite the individual to a point that rational thought breaks down on a certain level. I think thats the only possible explanation for a mosh pit, don't you? Or what about Benni Hinn? See what I'm saying...

And, yes Brandon, he could say almost anything and I'd still not like him because he is a politician who falls solidly into that 99.9%, and yes, as you have noted, I am an anarchist. I wear my scarlet letter with pride too.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Jon C. Fibbs said...

Brandon said: "Ah Jon, I knew this post would draw you out of semi-retirement my anarchist brother."

"Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in!"

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Save the popcorn for later Brandon. I've learned that Nate doesn't like facts to get in the way of his visceral responses.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous robyn said...

honestly, how many babies survive an abortion considering that the VAST majority of abortions happen in the first trimester when the chances of a fetus surviving outside of the mother's body is nil? Or are we talking about the virtually non-existant "Partial Birth Abortions". Obama probably vetoed that bill b/c he saw it for what it was - a veiled attempt to slowly roll back women's reproductive rights by making more and more restrictions on procedures(like late term abortions) and events (babies surviving abortion)that hardly ever happen.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Reacher said...

Sorry I've been absent from this discussion, Brandon. Folks can go to my blog to see the postings and comments that defend the yearning in my political loins for an Obama presidency. Sure, he may be a fraud. So may all of them. Yes, his stance on abortion troubles me. But, at the end of the day what are you gonna do? Pro-life Republican presidents have seen abortion rates rise during their administrations, while the numbers actually decreased more under Clinton. My point is that pro-life rhetoric will not save unborn lives. Never has. It is used to manipulate evangelicals into parting with their votes, then nothing is done. Even if it was done the evidence is quite clear that abortion rates would stay pretty steady (illegally) and maternal deaths would significantly increase. So, it's possible that Barack's take on the issue is more complex than you imagine.

As a professor of speech communication I say with all conviction (and a fair amount of professional credibility), Obama is the best speaker in presidential politics we've seen in our lifetimes. To some that triggers the old sophist saw of style over substance, but I happen to believe that the power to elevate the spirits of a population through words is a key skill of a leader of that import. Sure, he needs to make certain his skill is aimed at a holy purpose, but wouldn't it be a refreshing change after George "It's not rocket surgery" Bush?

What's wrong with wanting to believe we can all do better, together? Have we all gotten that cynical?

I'm with you on Hillary, Brandon. Can't get excited about her, because to me she represents politics as usual from the other side of the aisle. The same old divide and conquer strategies with a liberal agenda. I must say I'm warming to her a little, and if Barack doesn't make it I could reluctantly put my support behind her, but here's hoping it doesn't come to that.

11:26 AM  

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