Monday, September 15, 2008

What happened to the notion that "change is in the air"?

"Bobby is seen through the eyes of twenty-two characters. The hope, excitement and notion that a change is in the air, which Kennedy ignited in us all, black and white, rich and poor, young and old was extinguished that evening in June. From young men in their late teens to early twenties, facing the possibility of shipping off to Vietnam, to the retired doorman of the Ambassador, who has greeted the likes of every U.S. President from FDR to Johnson. From the hotel staff to the guests whom occupy the suites, to the "Youth of Kennedy Volunteers", all ages and genders are represented in screenplay."
- From the synopsis of "Bobby", 2006 movie

The movie "Bobby" is on HBO this afternoon and I'm taking a break from my hectic schedule of taking bubble baths and eating bon bons to watch. There's another line in the movie,"Now that Dr. King is gone, no one left but Bobby." The film features many news clips of Bobby Kennedy, including people who were thrilled to just "lay their hands on him."

This got me to thinking about today's political climate. What happened to the audacity of hope we were feeling which now seems to have turned to the repetition of despair? Repetition of the fear and despair felt four years ago and eight years ago. Four years ago we were thinking, "how could this happen again." Eight years ago we were aghast at what was happening directly in front of our eyes: the installation of a President of the United States who was not elected by the people, but by the Supreme Court.

Forty years ago (and I remember this, thank you very much), there WAS change in the air. There was hope in people's voices and energy in their spirits. Where is that now? Perhaps I'll see a tidbit tomorrow night when I go to Obama headquarters to offer my services. To date I haven't seen much of it. In fact lately, Democrats already seem to be ramping up for their next defeat. We're watching the polls and instead of feeling "change in the air" we're saying "how can people be so stupid", "how can the polls be so close", "how can the Republican lies be working again?"

Forty years after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy a black man is in the running for President and we have lost our hope? What has happened to the collective liberal soul? What has turned us to such wimps, so ready to believe the Republicans who tell us we are the establishment and THEY are the mavericks.

Have we become our own self-fulfilling prophecy? We so believe we're not going to take back this election and install the audacity of hope that our collaborative liberal conscience has already shot us down the rabbit hole?

It's a dead heat right now. Watching the political ads for Robert Kennedy, Jr. make me wonder why the Democrats are not putting out similar ads right now. They are talking about war, pollution and social change. Hello? Have I heard that somewhere lately?

Say it with me now: President Obama.

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