It has been exactly a year since a "skinny kid with a funny name" (his own description) delivered one of the more electrifying speeches in the history of American political rhetoric. The scene was the Democratic National Convention of 2004, and Barack Obama had been, most improbably, selected as the Keynote Speaker of the Convention. He responded with an address of such florid and earthy eloquence as to astonish even the numbest minds within the mass media.
In case you've forgotten it, you can go back and listen again—in fact, I would urgently recommend that you do so. (The audio file's been edited, it seems, and not very professionally; but it will give you enough of a feel for the energy of this speech to be worth a listen).
As I listened to it, I wondered, "what if...?" and "why not...?" Why shouldn't this young man, so full of life and ideals, become our next President? Couldn't he be just the kind of leader we need now in this morbidly sick and morally impoverished government of ours?
Before you form your own answer to my questions, think carefully about what we've had the past four-plus years; and then examine your preconceptions—the most common of which, I suppose, would be turned against Obama's youth and inexperience in Washington politics.
"He is unproven." Yes, he sure as hell is: unproven in the slimy power games of Washington's white and oily insiders; unproven in the ways of deceit and intimidation; unproven in the postures of aggression and hatred; unproven in the pursuit of war-for-profit; unproven in connivance and manipulation; unproven in the practice of politics as a game of cynical commerce; unproven in the conviction of having a golden earpiece connected exclusively to the mouth of a vengeful and violent God; unproven in contempt for the poor and working class of his nation; unproven in adulation for those with excesses of wealth and power; unproven in being the center of a circle of corruption; unproven in porkbarrelled legislation to benefit the rich and further impoverish the needy; unproven in the ideology of murder and oppression.
Yes, Barack Obama is unproven; and I can't think of a better recommendation on his behalf.