(OP-ED) I heard my first political speech of the ’08 presidential race on the car radio today. Four years ago I was so intensely invested in who won the presidency that I flew to Iowa and stood in sub-zero temperatures to volunteer for the Dean for America campaign.
Dean’s enthusiastic “screaming” into a crowded hall (filled with deafening noise) where we, his most fervent fans, were gathered (after having just lost Iowa), caused him to lose in other states and the campaign that once fed my political heart, caused it to break.
Oddly, because it was four years later nearly to the very day, I found myself glued to the radio listening to a political speech — after having stayed as far away from the primaries as I could get, so as not to have my heart broken again.
Today I listened to Barack Obama, and choked up with hope, decided I’d write in a moment when hope is still possible for me. The causcuses in Iowa have not yet begun. No concession speeches have tried to fire up a room where the flame has gone out.
There is still hope for me, a glimmer of audacity to believe that anything is possible. So, tonight, I write a list of things I liked most about Barack Obama during his speech, to a group of young people in Iowa yesterday, rebroadcast on C-Span radio today:
- People are calling him a hope-monger.
- He isn’t taking any money from PACs or federal lobbyists.
- He raised $100 million in mostly small donations under $100.
- Despite the pundits predictions, he didn’t go negative “in the end”.
- Some campaigns were saying he is TOO NICE to be able to fight a good fight. His response was, there is enough anger and bitter partisanship in Washington. “We don’t need more heat, we need more LIGHT”.
- He is like Howard Dean but without the anger.
- He’s not been in Washington circles long. (You can’t be considered the best person to fix a problem if you’ve been steeped in the institutions that created the problems in the first place.)
- He sounds very relaxed, sure of himself, funny and articulate.
- He has a midwestern accent. (Let’s give a northerner a try.)
- He didn’t vote to authorize force in Iraq.
Obama’s book is entitled, The Audacity of Hope. I’m glad I allowed myself to hope again, if only for one day.