Monday, April 28, 2008

The Coming Change We Can Believe In?

The most exciting thing about the '60s, to me, is that it was a time when people could believe, regardless of the immediate reality, that at any moment the world could morph into something different. And when it did, what it became might turn out to be what you had willed it to be.

People who felt such a thing to be true weren't alone. They had friends who felt the same thing; who felt that sudden, almost spontaneous, morphing was possible. And those friends would never dispute the notion that it might be your vision that ignited the process of change. Every friend stood ready to be one of those who would be required to set their vision aside so that another's vision might become reality. Such solidarity. Such shared energy.

Between then and now there has been a counter-revolution of astonishing proportions and agonizing durability. The Nixon-era reaction, became the Reagan-era reaction and continued through the disappointing '90s to the Bush assault on government, democracy and decency. Since that time, we have been agents only of small changes, hardly believing that more--more justice, more peace, more freedom, more unassisted flight--was, or is, possible.

Can Barack Obama make a difference now after so many years of counterattack? Is it Barack who will bring us "Change we can believe in?" After all these years will it turn out that we were just waiting for a savior, kind of like Nicholas Cage's Cameron Poe character in Con Air?

Or will the feeling of change that almost daily seemed so imminent during the late '60s return because we have found new heart? Found that once again we can imagine big change? If so, we need first of all what we can do for ourselves, and second, perhaps, what a president, in a midwife's role, can do to help us. Barack as midwife we might believe in. I can go there. But Hillary as midwife? John McCain as nanny? Beyond my meager powers of imagination.

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