Monday, January 28, 2008

Post-South Carolina Words to the Candidates

Here are my unsolicited messages to the Democratic candidates:

To Bill: Just shut up. (Oh, I forgot, Hillary is the candidate.)

To Hillary: Tell Bill to shut up and remind him who the candidate is.

To: Barack: You are inspiring, idealistic, and hopeful, and your message of partisan-transcending politics sure makes for a good speech and may even be a good strategy to get elected, but you are naive if you think the Republicans are suddenly going to play nice if you are elected president. You said it is wrong to think that rich people do not care about the poor. Of course they care about the poor but only if it does not cost them much to help them. How many are willing to pay substantially higher taxes, for example, if that is what is required? You should be reminded of what Walter Rauschenbusch and Reinhold Niebuhr knew and what John Edwards knows: the privileged will not surrender their self-interests without a fight. But the thought that you could be the President moves this white Southerner to tears and would be for me as an old man a dream come true. If you are inaugurated in January 2009, Martin, my fellow-Georgian and Crozer graduate, will be looking down upon the scene and smiling.

To John: In South Carolina you were, as you claimed, the grown up. You have the most passion for the poor and the best programs to help the poor of all races and ethnicities. You know that the quest for a justice is a fight and not simply a matter of inspiring everybody with great speeches to join in -- although they are supremely important as M. L. King, Jr. demonstrated. But most Democrats are not buying your message. That is too bad, but I don't see much hope for your campaign. I deeply regret that. If you drop out, I hope you will support Barack and try to teach him a little realism about the world, but he needs to do what is necessary to get elected. Maybe what the world needs now is inspiration and hope even if the high idealism of Barack is not altogether realistic, so don't overdo your instruction.

PS TO ALL AMERICANS: Think about it -- an African-American man with a white American mother from Kansas and a black father with a Muslim background from Kenya -- that man President of the United States!

O my, what a day that would be! What a day that would be for the United States. What a day that would be for the world. O my, what a day!

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