Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Barack supporters have a lot to be thankful for. Do they realize that?

These are special times: being in the presence of an inspiring leader so close to plucking the largest fruit in the political orchard: the presidency. I know friends who participated in the anti-Vietnam movement felt similar. Many think there will be even more magic once the nation is united after he wins. Oh, if only that were true. Such moments are rare and brief at best. The closest we ever came in my lifetime was the first year or so when JFK was president and, take it from me, it doesn’t even approach the intensity Barack supporters feel now; or what they will feel not too long after he wins.

What is to be is never as good as what we imagine.

I’ve never felt this “magic” that Barack seems to bring to others. I don’t regret it, but I do understand it. It’s a lot like love, or being on stage, or what Conservatives felt when Barry ran and then when Buckley gathered broken Goldwater supporters together under the warm embrace of The National Review. Movements, no matter what political orbit they take, do have that in common. I’m sure Hitler, Roosevelt and Churchill supporters also felt this way in the early years: before it all helped to create a “perfect storm:” WWII.

Yes: what is to be is never as good as what we imagine.

This is not just a political phenomenon…

Acting has a magical element to it where, unlike some past campaign, or lost love, one can almost relive gone moments. I know Mohawk Valley Community College called many of us fellow “drama ‘queens'” back a few years ago to honor the anniversary of the Drama Department by doing a reader’s theater production. In a similar fashion, in the musical: Sunset Boulevard, Norma gets called back to the film stage after her career melted away and relived that career for a brief moment…

“I don’t know why I’m frightened
I know my way around here
The cardboard trees, the painted seas, the sound here…
Yes, a world to rediscover
But I ‘m not in any hurry
And I need a moment”

“The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
The atmosphere as thrilling here as always
Feel the early morning madness
Feel the magic in the making
Why, everything’s as if we never said goodbye”

As If We Never Said Goodbye, from Sunset Boulevard

We tried to make our own reliving of who we had been into an annual event. And much like the “anniversary over; let’s move on” response to our requests, Norma found out they had just wanted to use her antique car for the production. Providing one huge neon light warning for all those special moments whether you be in love, actor or activist: everything ends. Post election day things will change no matter who lives in the White House. People will split and become disenchanted. Barack’s star will shine less brightly and what seemed pure will seem soiled from time to time. This is how life is: political, religious, romance…

David Wilcox has a great monologue he does before one of his songs. He says that love is like being on a carousel. I imagine it could apply to any special moment occupied by more than one person. Together you reach the top. You can see so far; everything is clear and… just then… during that most magical of moments… your partner climbs out into mid-air: leaving you dangling there asking; “How can you do that? Why would you do that?”

How? Not sure.

Why? Because it’s some crazed law that Mother Nature, God, Satan or, my personal favorite: gremlins, have weaved into the very fabric of the Universe.

“Preserve your memories: they’re all that’s left you.”

-Paul Simon “Friends”

“Just across the sea on this world so round
the sun’s shining hot right now.
And even though the winter still surrounds this town
I can still feel that sun somehow.
When I know that my sun will shine just as sure as this world can spin,
I can hold on fine, cause it almost time, for that sun to come ’round again.”

David Wilcox, from his song: It’s Almost Time

Don’t despair, the carousel will turn again. No two rides are the same but…

…maybe that’s the point. They wouldn’t be special; so treasured, if they were.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over thirty years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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RS Janes
15 years ago

As the song you quote says, we are in the midst of a change in cycles from the winter of conservative regression to the summer of liberal progress. It has always been so in this country and the farther out in orbit to one side the political system goes, the farther around to the other it eventually swings, as the 25-odd years of regressive conservatism from Taft to Hoover show. (I know Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat, but he was mostly a racist conservative at heart.)

Then FDR came in and set the course for the moderate progressive liberalism that dominated the American political structure until Reagan. (Even Nixon was moderate to liberal on domestic issues.)

Now we are coming out of the long darkness of neoconservative regression and I think Obama will turn out to be, especially if he has a friendly Congress to work with, much more liberal than his campaign would have you believe.

I haven’t felt the Obamania you refer to, and don’t know anyone who I’d classify as an Obamamaniac, although I’m sure the phenomenon exists. (Maybe I’m just too old and jaded.)

What impresses me about Obama, and is particularly refreshing after eight years of the hapless embarrassment that is Junior, is that he writes all of his major speeches and he can deliver them with clarity and dignity. In that speech on race relations he made in Philadelphia last May — “A More Perfect Union” — he showed the eloquence, intelligence, thoughtfulness and broadmindedness of a Jefferson or Lincoln. I’d like to be proud of my president once again, and Obama shows all the signs of making that a reality — he may even turn out to be exceptional in another way other than that he’ll be the first obviously black president — he might just become one of our greatest presidents; I think he has the tools, but we’ll have to see on that last score.

Ken, I’m generally cynical but, as even diehard cynic H.L. Mencken once said, ‘cynics are right nine times out of ten.’ Yes, but then there’s that tenth time, the one that surprises you…

I’m hoping Obama is that tenth time but, even if he’s not, he’ll still be a better president that the disaster that is McCain-Palin and spell the end of the demented and toxic Bush-Rove Era in US politics.

RS Janes
15 years ago

It is on both sides, Ken, and I just got an email from a McPalinite that read, in big bold letters:

“remove me from your mailing list…you are full of evil ideas and I want no part of you and your people”

This is in response to my explaining Obama’s tax plan to give a break to those making under $200,000 per year — the McPalinites think her candidacy is some kind of religious crusade rather than a political campaign and anyone who questions it has ‘evil ideas.’

Truly remarkable in a nation that was intentionally founded as a secular democratic republic, but I think it’s always been this way. The difference now is, instead of just annoying their families and what few friends they might have, the goofballs now can send their nuttiness out into cyberspace to annoy the world at large.

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