Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Unconventional Convention: The 2008 Democratic convention has, I believe, captured the American mind and spirit in a way that no other single event in modern political history ever has. It has been a mirror of our country and a yardstick for our time. America has been called to greatness once again and once again America can, if it wants to, respond. Once in a lifetime a leader crosses our path who can lift us up, inspire us, give us courage, provide us hope that better days are ahead. I believe Barack Obama is no ordinary man for our no ordinary time.

Great leadership has been, I believe, illusive. Perhaps it took the systemically foul leadership of a George W. Bush presiding over the most corrupt political machine in US history for a leader to emerge who can provide a new way. George Bush's egregiously inept leadership has been well documented. He was a leader who took this nation to war based on lies, imbued himself with unconstitutional powers; he was a man who did not protect us from the onslaught of 9/11, and a man who botched badly the ensuing war on terrorism soon to cost trillions catapulting us into recession or worse. He sanctioned torture, squashed science and committed other immoral acts. George Bush, too, provided us with a Justice Department by unethically stuffing its ballot box with political cronies so that allegiance to George Bush was the only qualification for admittance into his restricted club of extremist Republican politics. His oligarchic love of unregulated crony capitalism and a loathing of government regulation has made George Bush into arguably the worst president in US history. He has run the ship of state aground. His leadership was not about the many. It was about the few. John McCain voted with George W. Bush 95% of the time.

Instead of basking in the sunlight of great leadership George Bush squandered that leadership and relegated it to the darkness of a secret presidency conducted behind closed doors and out of the people's view so that his secret meetings with the minions of millionaires could never be seen. Perhaps, though, his presidency existed so that finally this nation can undergo systemic transformation.

I have always yearned for the FDR experience that my parents adored. I have heard it said as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's casket rolled past tearful onlookers one black man who shed tears for FDR was asked if he knew him. His answer was "I did not know him but he knew me." I hope in the coming few months this country sees that Barack Obama knows us so that we propel him into the great leadership I know, if given a chance, he can provide.