Tuesday, May 06, 2008

ride a wave

To start, send out good wishes to little Ms. X who is right now, as I type, taking her last-ever Law School exam.

I should be better at putting together evidence when it’s sitting right before me. My story is this; with the move completed I’ve gathered a new mass transit lineup that includes buses, Metro, and some walking on either end. What I realized this morning while standing at the 401 bus stop shelter at Dunn Loring (something I won’t be doing so much of in the future) was that the reason for crowded buses over the last few months probably has something to do with gas prices. In my time at the club I’ve noted the usual number of commuters and those that come-and-go over weeks and months: folks with broken vehicles, new residents to the area, and those that mysteriously show for only a day or two and disappear - they’re a strange lot. Basically, my scheduled bus carries the same crew of malcontents on a daily basis. There are always days where some of the crew is AWOL but they’re usually back after a few days on the run. Over the last month there’ve been a lot of interlopers on both the AM and PM buses and, quite frankly, the space is getting more limited. While listening to the a debate on the gas tax holiday on the iPod this morning I finally realized that this surge in ridership isn’t purely based on cycles or weather – it’s gas prices. My analytical training sometimes takes a little longer to kick in when I’m listening to podcasts or rock n’ roll. I’m a genius. That’s the word from the man on the street.

Christopher Hitchens has another interesting commentary on the Obamas and Rev. Wright. The paragraph that struck me most was the following and I found it a bit too broad in assuming what happened at the time of the immediately before and after the Philadelphia speech.

“Nettled at last by the way in which this has upset his campaign, Sen. Obama last week cut the ties that bound him to his crackpot mentor. Well, high time. But those who profess relief at this should perhaps revisit what they thought (and wrote) about the earlier Philadelphia speech in which Obama was held to have achieved the same result with less trouble. If he was right last week, then the Philly speech was a failure on every level, and if it was a failure on every level, and thus left Obama hideously vulnerable to the very next speech made by his foaming pastor, then that must raise questions of eligibility for the highest office.”

I don’t think it’s a matter of whether the Philly speech completed the circle; I think Obama’s position as it related to both his reverend and race relations was spot on. What it represented was his interpretation of the issues that rage across race lines in our country and how those can be woven from some of the more inflammatory language of Rev. Wright. I didn’t see him supporting Wright’s assertions as made nor fully distancing himself from the narrative that led to Wright’s commentaries. The idea that certain words must be uttered by a candidate in order to make something go away is a horribly shallow desire by the public and press. It’s a no-win scenario for Obama yet what he’s done is to try to move through it in a manner that’s much more human than most expect from politicos. If he’d simply stated two months ago that Wright was “crackpot” and then chucked him on the slag heap he would have be blasted for simply brushing the bad news under the carpet and denying further explanation of his actions. He didn’t do that and now he’s still dealing with the fallout. What this shouldn’t be is an endless process that just resets and begins anew. Wright has decided to continue down his path of rage and Obama has now taken the final step and extinguished any hope of diplomacy between the two. His words and actions last week didn’t refute any of the injustice felt by African Americans but merely closed the door on someone he may have thought could change, or refocus, his anger. It was a decision necessitated by Wright, not Obama. What Hitchens does here is follow his tendency to latch onto a single thread and hold it incessantly without sometimes seeing the nuisance; the war and Obama’s reverend being two examples. He was for the war and against the reverend from the get-go and what generally follows are snippets that run support for either pillar on which he stands. There are some valid points and targets within the Hitchens commentary but I happen to think he’s reaching when attempting to sort some kind of math that aligns the Philly speech and what happened last week.

That’s my political pennies for the week. I’m hoping that today’s primaries bring us a little closer to the end of the Democratic nomination process. I can almost comprehend the frustration on both sides of the Democratic fight. I cannot possibly understand polls that say that up to 54% of Dems would either vote Republican or not vote at all if their candidate doesn’t get the nomination. I’m starting to believe they are the real problem in the party – petty, selfless, and mindless voters.

Hey to all.


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