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President Obama: The torch passes again

Posted by billhoward 
President Obama: The torch passes again
Posted by: billhoward (
Date: November 05, 2008 11:46AM

For baby boomer Cornellians feeling a sense of history, it was an amazing week. Tuesday was one of the leadership changes that is more than just Bush-I-to-Clinton-and-some-things-change. They happen only a couple times in a lifetime. John Kennedy was the man "born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage" and there was his charisma and the charm of Camelot, even if later that turned out to be spelled with a long A. Reagan, like him or not, changed ideas about government and the Soviet empire came apart under his watch. FDR was change in a big way, too.

When you hear rebroadcasts of the Martin Luther King "I have a dream" speech in (?) 1963, you realize it was about more than just getting to use the same washroom as white people. But how many of us baby boomers thought we'd see a black president in our lifetime? A woman, yes (Tina Fey to Amy Poehler: "You've just got to want it";). An African-American? That seemed beyond comprehension until now. Damn! Maybe peaceful, gradual change is possible if you measure change in a lifetime, not in a year or a decade.

John McCain was a most gracious and patriotic American in his healing speech of concession that came from the heart, not from the script. That John McCain would have gotten more votes than the programmed attack dog of the campaign. It would be nice if the Sarah Palin camp laid low until after the inauguration, or will her handlers start their spin cycle already?

To the extent the world still sees us as the shining beacon of hope (also the land of H1Bs, precision-guided munitions, and great buys on electronics manufactured elsewhere), it was divine that the weather in Chicago was so extraordinarily warm, allowing the world to see in HD video a peaceful celebration of hope where 40 years ago during the Democratic convention Chicago cops were the shame of America (Richard J. Daley: "The policeman isn't there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.";)

Now, I need to go look up the old Dick Gregory video (it was Gregory, right, not say a Godfrey Cambridge?) in which he plays the first black president at his first press conference. If you haven't seen it, the message, translated, is this: Obama's done his part; now the Secret Service has to do theirs. Was anyone else nervous seeing Obama walk out onto that exposed platform to make his acceptance speech?

All this makes Nathan Ford's incomplete toss into the end zone on the final play vs. Princeton seem less important now. Hockey vs. Princeton is a different matter.
Re: President Obama: The torch passes again
Posted by: ugarte (
Date: November 05, 2008 03:45PM

Was anyone else nervous seeing Obama walk out onto that exposed platform to make his acceptance speech?
(a) No.
(b) The platform was not exposed.

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