Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The Son of the South Concedes
Sitting here waiting on John Edwards to make his concession speech in New Orleans, I cannot help but think back to that heated debate in Myrtle Beach, SC. Though the CNN "after party" that night correctly predicted he would come in last, I felt he'd been the only candidate who truly understood and confronted ALL the issues facing America today. As a Black woman in America, Mr. Edwards spoke to the same realities I see played over and over again in this country. Dress it up anyway you like, but we do live in two Americas and on January 21st, Edwards clearly and succinctly rose above the bickering and personal attacks going on in the sandbox to not only define the current state of our union, but to provide realistic, attainable goals for truly creating the one America to which the other two candidates merely give lip service. He's now giving his speech at the Musician's Village in New Orleans where it all began last year. It is a fitting location given his comments on moral responsibility, poverty, backbone, conviction, universal health care and the fact that New Orleans had been and continues to be abandoned and forgotten by our government. He echoed all the things he said in the SC debate and added that after contacting Senators Clinton and Obama, they had pledged to make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency - a gem of a gift upon which they both will no doubt capitalize (after making it sound as if it were their idea all along of course). Let's be clear people, the one America of which Senator Obama has been speaking is not the same one America for which John Edwards was campaigning. Sen. Obama's is one of let's "move on" from the politics of the racial divide with no apparent accountability for its part in where we are today. Mr. Edwards on the other hand, spoke of how the politics of the racial divide needed to be faced and dealt with in a manner that would work to truly begin leveling the playing field. Big difference. And as far as Sen. Clinton? Well, since she only recently jumped on the one America theme, I'm not even including her in the comparison at all. As a rabid fan of HBO's seminal series, The Wire, I happened upon Ray Shea's excellent blog, "Got that New Package!", which not only presents the best analysis of the show I've seen anywhere, but provides an absolutely brilliant illustration of how on-point Mr. Edwards had been in constantly hammering on the issue of the two Americas in which we live. And if you think Mr. Shea's thoughts are to be taken with a grain of salt - don't. Raised and currently living in New Orleans, he has a true bird's-eye view of those two Americas. His January 24th post, "Namond's world, by the numbers," is at once a perfect representation of the Edwards campaign and a glaring commentary on what is lacking in the campaigns of Senators Clinton and Obama. John Edwards certainly spoke for me today when he said he understood how hard it is to speak out for change when you feel your voice is not being heard. But when you consider that going along to get along is exactly what's gotten us where we are today, doing the hard thing is definitely preferable. Even though each of the remaining two both represent a part of who I am, I hate having to choose between the lesser of two evils in November - especially since to date, neither of them has really done the hard thing. But, I will wait and watch and choose because the thought of another Republican administration is definitely not an option. I wish the son of a mill worker and his family the very best. Maybe he'll be offered and accept the Attorney General spot in the new administration because Lord knows our criminal justice system is in definite need of something new!