Thirty-Seven Minutes

11/27/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I revisited Barack Obama's speech on the subject of race in the United States last night. Yes, I was sorely in need of an effective antidote to Republican ugliness. And more. I yearned for an adult to speak to me, as an adult, without pulling any punches. Real issues, real understanding, real alternatives. Thirty-seven minutes later, Senator Obama had done more than make me feel better. He'd restored for me what he rightly calls the audacity of hope.

"Not this time...." he said, naming only a handful of the ways Republicans would divide us to conquer, again. "Not this time...." Powerful words, from a powerful person. Hope, grounded in reality.

When I went to the polls in the spring to vote for Barack Obama, I said off-handedly to the folks checking me in, "Well, hope springs eternal." One young man's jaw dropped. "What?!" Somewhat taken aback, I repeated myself. He shook his head and said, "I've never heard that before."

It's time for that young man to have a President responsible to the people, not to toadies, ideologues, fundamentalists, kleptocrats and crony capitalists. It's time for an engaged electorate ready to act as adults in tackling unquestionably difficult issues.

The Bush-Cheney-McCain-Palin fear-mongers have relentlessly taken the American people's name in vain, sent the genuine evils of a dying worldview out into the world, then snapped tight the lid. Unlike the Greeks who first told us about Pandora, these marauders then muzzled Pandora and her offer of hope. They've chipped away at our liberties, played to our human weaknesses, and left us with the debilitating cynicism and grating venom of the likes of McPalin.

For far, far too long, we've stood by as wrong-wingers stifled our hope that things really could get better. We forgot Franklin Roosevelt's imperative expressed in his first inaugural address: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and the often overlooked but equally important remainder of that sentence "-- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." The result is the undeniable deluge of calamities from which Republicans have profited so egregiously, for which so many at home and afar have suffered.

Not this time.

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