Saturday, March 29, 2008

Why Barack?

For the last 45 years the Democratic Party has been engaged in just one pursuit: the resurrection of Jack Kennedy. Every presidential election since the murder of JFK has revolved about not issues, but rather the intangible qualities that imbedded this man at the very quick of our souls. We don’t remember the specifics along his road to ascendancy but rather the qualities- his Beatitudes. No-one remembers his ‘missile gap’ meanderings but rather his purely spiritual calls to sacrifice, to hope, to the commitment to equality, to our obligation to the poor and the meek. It was his words that inspired the world as much as his courage. Students of the Synoptics term this quality, charisma. And for this murky quality the Party is forever searching.

There, of course, is that long list of pretenders since 1963. Every four years we trot out the usual suspects and every four years they are weighed in the balance and found wanting- not for the lack of policy but for lack of the impalpable set of principles that stir our souls and with a holy adherence to the Jeffersonian vision upon which the Party was founded.

But this year we may have finally found the successor to JFK. The truth is that it’s not ‘about the economy, stupid’ but about inspiration and hope.

The contest for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party now comes down to this: Barack versus Hillary- the new and the inspirational versus the old and the corrupt. Can anyone among us with even the vaguest knowledge of history support the continuation of the Clinton years on the basis of a crypto-fascist Peronist ploy to rig the election in favor of a new Eva Peron? Sam Powers rightly viewed such usurpation as a monstrous act- and the actress ‘a monster’ for playing this nihilistic role. In the long and sordid history of political power grabs- from Eva to Lurleen Wallace- this one stands alone in its mendacity. And in the words of Jeremy Wright, if such a despoliation of American polity is allowed to stand, then “God damn America” for allowing it to happen.