Yes, We Did
Pine Mountain, Calif.
The tears are coming now. Not since the cruel, hopeful spring of 1968, working with Eugene McCarthy to end a different war, have I felt such relief. No one I voted for ever won anything in those days, and no tears came. The tears are coming now. In sheets. Old tears. Buckets of them. They’ve collected a lifetime. I haven’t cried for decades. Now I can’t stop. Every time I see Jesse Jackson or John Lewis or Andrew Young or old black ladies hugging and crying outside some Southern clapboard church or a gang of students dancing in some campus quad, I hear the echo of Martin Luther King Jr., and the tears come again. Free at last. An old white man cannot know what black people feel. Their trials can only be imagined. But this one shares their joy. My tears are black.
I would like to give a Nation gift subscription to a Mr. Barack Obama. In January 2009 his address will be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500. I would have gladly given this subscription years ago, but I’m afraid the current resident would not only leave the magazine unread week after week; he wouldn’t even bother to recycle it.
I liked Jonathan Schell’s reference to Obama as a “gifted political man–a kind of Mozart of politics” [“When the Gloves Come Off,” Nov. 3]. I shared this happy turn of phrase with friends, and one said, Obama is certainly a Mozart, but we must play the instruments.
Going back through the Nation archive (a truly invaluable resource) I came across Jonathan Schell’s “The Case Against the War” [March 3, 2003]. How prescient was his opening quote from Dwight Eisenhower on “pre-emptive war” coming from the president who also warned us against becoming a war economy. Oh, to hear Ike’s words if he saw the state of his Republican Party today.