Monday, February 12, 2007

Too Much for one Day?

In his blog for The Nation, Christopher Hayes has decided to express (articulate?) his disenchantment with all of the Obama symbolism in Saturday. I am not sure I was ever enchanted enough to be disenchanted, but I was skeptical even as the crowds were gathering. That is because I happened to be listening to C-SPAN on my XM Radio that morning and discovered that they were the only media source giving any coverage to Tavis Smiley's "State of the Black Union" symposium in Jamestown, a site with its own symbolism for the African-American community. So, while Springfield had Obama, Jamestown had Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, whose pioneering efforts in presidential politics have now been forgotten in order to cast Obama as a "first." Needless to say, Obama made no reference to Jamestown, let alone the Covenant with Black America, one of the organizations that supports Smiley's annual symposium. Hayes' misgivings have to do with the abundance of symbolism and rhetoric as a cover for lack of substance, which is another way of saying "politics as usual." On the other hand the "powers that be," particularly in the media, seem to have made it impossible to get elected without "politics as usual;" but isn't hoping for something else the kind of audacity that Obama was writing about in his book? Personally, I think that both Jackson and Sharpton have offered us many lessons in audacity; and it remains to be seen how good a pupil Obama will prove to be.

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