I have been so upset about the goings on in the democratic primary lately that I have tried not to let myself hear any news. I don't want to hear any more about how Clinton surrogates are suggesting Obama is an undeserving affirmative action case. I don't want to hear any more about how unacceptable it is for Obama to be friends with a passionate critic of the U.S. government. But after pestering me and pestering me about it, Cole finally got me to watch Obama's Big Race Speech. If anything, he was too conciliatory for my taste, though he was politically just about as perfect as I can imagine anyone being on the subject. And wow, the media has been talking about the possibility that Black people and white people aren't completely honest about their feelings about race to each other's faces. That alone is a major rhetorical Obama victory as far as I'm concerned.
It's just really hard for someone who has studied a lot of nineteenth century American history (okay, me) to listen to white people complain that Black people aren't patriotic enough or are "anti-American" when they criticize the country. (Yeah, yeah, I know the whole Rev. Wright thing is all crazy-beyond-the-pale, but whatever. I am not shocked by it. I'm shocked that more people don't talk like that more often, frankly. People in general--especially non-white and otherwise less than perfectly privileged people--are far less angry and suspicious of the government than they ought to be, in my opinion.)
Anyway, the whole Obama thing has been steeping in my subconcious for a couple of days and then I watched the first two installments of HBO's John Adams mini-series and suddenly the light bulb went off and I realized what I wanted to tell you all. I wanted to tell you that one of the greatest orators in U.S. history had some "Anti-American"-but-patriotic things to say in his time, and his tireless leadership made America more American for the generations after him. Please take a minute and read one of my favorite things ever written by one of my favorite Dead American Heroes:
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" by Frederick Douglass, 1852.
I also wanted to tell ya'll why Hillary Clinton needs to bone up on her early suffragette history, but anovelista did it so beautifully (including most excellent references), that I see no reason to waste my time doing it a tenth as well.