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05 November 2008


John B.

Boy, am I behind in my blog-reading.

Recently I ran into something on the 'Nets where the writer said in passing that Whitman was for him the poet best suited to conveying how he felt about this country, post-election. I'd have to agree with that. It's easy to smile at his effusive embrace of everyone, but generosity of spirit, like hope, isn't blind or naive. What Whitman knew and celebrated, and what Obama doesn't just speak to but embodies is faith in this country's ideals. We are at our best when we do the best we can to live up to them.

I read somewhere else that Obama, when he was deciding whether or not to run, was asked by someone if he was afraid of losing. He said no, he was afraid of winning. I like the honesty in that, the recognition that it's after winning that the real work, the important work, begins. Who's on his side? Who has his back? Your student is exactly right on this point, too: it's not all up to him now; it's up to us.


What a fine fine post to read! I've not been an Obama supporter, but I see how his rhetoric, at least, is a start, and somethin we've been lacking in our leaders. Rhetoric is powerful, and in some ways, it can / might jus tmobilize people. But will this euphoria so many of my collegues share last? He's right--it won't get easier fast, it will get harder. We still won't face what's at the root of some of our lagest problems--our over reliance / faith in thinking we deserve the best, everything, without having to work for it or sacrifice. I see this esp in environmental issues because I'm most passionate about this, but race, class, gender all connect readily. We need a leader who makes us Americans again, who sacrifice for a greater good, and know that if we do so not only will our physical lives be better, but our emotional and spiritual. I don't know. I ramble, and I have plenty of applications for a search committee I need to get through.....

Blackswampgirl Kim

Your post is reassuring, but so is John B's comment. Because I have long at least somewhat agreed with Gore Vidal, who said: "Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so." Only by that definition, nobody qualified would ever run... so at least for someone to be humble about running, and have some doubts, is a good compromise for me.


I have enjoyed Langston Hughes' works but have either not read this one or forgotten it. Very timely and makes me a bit melancholy for all the time wasted in celebrating each life regardless of personal bits n'pieces.


John B., as you know, I supported Hillary during the primaries. I was disappointed that she didn't receive the nomination - but then began to slowly warm to Obama after much reading and thought. The enthusiasm for him - and the possibility of a more positive direction and outlook was contagious for me. I wish him well, but yes - we all are responsible here.

Benjamin, I wasn't an Obama supporter at first - and it took me quite awhile to 'join in'. I didn't enjoy the rhetoric at first - but am desperately hopeful that our country regains a kinder reputation globally. And good luck with all that work. I know where you're coming from!

Layanee, thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I like Hughes - and over the past week or so have felt the significance of this time. I'm proud of what our country has done - people seem to be walking a bit taller I think.


Kim, I fully agree. I can't imagine anyone wanting the job - so at least if they want it, realize how intrinsically impossible it is!

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