Last week, Common Dreams published an essay of mine titled "The Revolution Has Arrived." I suggested that the time had come for hippy ideals to be fully engaged, since so much of what that movement was about has come to be mainstream or nearly mainstream today. I ended with a mention of the fact that Barack Obama may be a corporate whore, but he's OUR whore and it's our job to make him do what's right.
You'd think I had suggested that we, on the Left, all cut off a leg and eat it for dinner. I made the mistake of providing a personal email address, inviting comment.
I received dozens of emails, many more than comments posted on the Common Dreams website.
There were a few positive voices and compliments. However, the overwhelming number of notes I received were from angry "Lefties." Here's one that sums them all up, with the least amount of profanity (most are unprintable, even here):
"yada yada yada
get real, the beat goes on.
now tell me he's the lesser evil.
we hear this same shit every four years."
For clarity's sake, I simply want to point out that I didn't suggest anyone vote for Barack Obama. What I hoped to express was the idea that, since it looks inevitable that Obama will be our next president, we seize the opportunity to take him at his word and hold him to his promises. Additionally, we must strive to convince him to revise some of his pro-military, non-non-violent policies.
Frankly, I was planning to vote for Ralph Nader. I live in a state that will, almost certainly, go Red. Rather than vote for a losing mainstreamer, I wanted to vote for a voice of integrity that I have admired throughout my entire adult life.
Now I have changed my mind. Not because of anything that transpired between Common Dreams readers and myself, but because I thought long and hard about the historicity of the upcoming election.
Barack Obama is dragging the Left (kicking and screaming) back to its community organizing roots and creating the public space that is needed to enact truly progressive change in the United States. His campaign has trained hundreds of thousands of organizers, giving them a skill set that enables them to bring people together to act collectively on behalf of their common interests. No matter how one may feel about his individual policies, and no matter which policies we, on the far Left espouse, Obama's campaign is showing the way to get it done.
He has put together the first tremendously organized, grassroots, populist, winning presidential campaign in modern American history. His campaign has the support of more than three million contributors, an unprecedented number.
I think I want to be able to tell my grandchildren and great grandchildren that I voted for Barack Obama, the first non-Caucasian person, the first person from my generation, the first person with the kinds of complicated roots that give him a perspective of American life and politics that no other president has ever, ever had.
It's about damned time.