I did not grow up in an atmosphere of privilege. My dad owned his own barbershop, and my mom was a seamstress in New York’s garment district. I wanted for nothing, but I knew we were solidly working class. If I and my brothers wanted to go to university—and with our parents, it was expected—we would have to work for it. There were no college funds, and no rich uncle was going to swoop in and save us. All we had were each other, our willingness to work, and our native intelligences.
Not coming from a place of privilege, I know instinctively that most things in this life for most people come at a price, the price usually being hard struggle. The world gives up very little for free. Short cuts, when they do exist, are far and few between. As I said in my post yesterday, at first that made me a practiced cynic. Fortunately I grew out of it, and embraced the rewards that come with struggle; the struggle makes the reward all that much sweeter.
But just as cynicism infects our modern politics, so does a culture of privilege.
NYT: Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, standing before the Old State Capitol where Abraham Lincoln began his political career, announced his candidacy for the White House on Saturday by presenting himself as an agent of generational change who could transform a government hobbled by cynicism, petty corruption and “a smallness of our politics.”
…. It was the latest step in a journey rich with historic possibilities and symbolism. Thousands of people packed the town square to witness it, shivering in the single-digit frostiness until Mr. Obama appeared, trailed by his wife, Michelle, and two young daughters….
…. The formal entry to the race framed a challenge that would seem daunting to even the most talented politician: whether Mr. Obama, with all his strengths and limitations, can win in a field dominated by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who brings years of experience in presidential politics, a command of policy and political history, and an extraordinarily battle-tested network of fund-raisers and advisers.
…. “If a campaign is premised on personality, then no, I don’t think you can stay fresh for a year,” he said. “But if the campaign is built from the ground up and there is a sense of ownership among people who want to see significant change, then absolutely. It can build and grow.”
Charles Pierce: …. As to the argument that the president “didn’t want this” to open up in an election year, I think he did. It’s too perfect an ending to the narrative of his “evolving position” that he’s been talking about for three years. He saw a clear injustice — the North Carolina vote — and he decided that his conscience would brook no more delay. Look at how carefully he wove his support of marriage equality into the fabric of everything else he’d done for the cause of equality since he’s been president.
He talked about how our men and women in the armed forces (you know, the gay ones who can serve openly because he ended Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell, and who can get married in Massachusetts and Hawaii because he told his Justice Department not to pursue cases under the Defense of Marriage Act) shouldn’t be denied a right that we all have — to marry — just because they’ve left the killing fields.
…. I think both the Biden and Duncan interviews were long-range reconnaissance, and I think he got the information he wanted. I have my differences with this president, god knows, but this is one thing of which I am certain: He does absolutely nothing by accident. He has spent his entire life learning how to take cautious, considered steps. He’s damned good at it by now.
…. All of which is not to diminish what an authentic act of political courage this actually is. The dingbats will scream and fling their poo to all points of the compass …. even I can’t be cynical enough to deny that most of the reasons that the president said what he did today he said because he is a child of the civil-rights movement, someone whose fundamental ethics and whose most basic view of this country were formed as a result of the crucible through which the country passed in those years, and I believe he saw that denying gay couples the right to marriage when they contribute so much to so many areas of society was simply the right thing to do.
….. we all had a good laugh at his “evolving position on it,” but don’t we want our presidents to be thoughtful, to be open to new data and new perpectives, and new ways of thinking about things? …..I can tell you that, in my lifetime, I have had my fill of rigid presidents.
….a better and fairer country awaits ….I’m prouder to be driving through this country than I was this morning, that’s for sure.
Liberal Librarian: President Obama has evolved to embrace everyone’s basic human right to marry the person they love. Mitt Romney has devolved from a moderate Republican to a puppet of the Koch Bros and the Tea Party. Enough said.
See ThinkProgress for more, these are just fantastic – thank you DesertFlower