Saturday, November 22, 2008

Making It Plain

I’ve been around Baltimore and DC for the past few days, and to say the least, the mood here is ebullient. Everywhere I go, people are practically giddy with pleasure, proudly calling themselves “community organizers,” exchanging hand slaps and hugs with strangers, and referring again and again to “November 4th, 2008” as a date that already has the ring of history.

While here I’ve had the great fortune to see and hear a number of political leaders, all of whom have much to say about the end of one era and the start of another. By far the most impressive of these was the great civil rights era lawyer Vernon Jordan, who spoke at one epicenter of DC book culture, Politics and Prose, to promote his new book "Make it Plain."

The well-known power broker who led Bill Clinton's presidential transition team in 1992, was in the news again recently to say that a "president should pick a White House chief of staff first" - advice which Obama followed. Jordan's speech at the bookstore didn't focus on the recent campaign season, but rather on an unknown and unsung chain of events that made Obama's victory possible. He cited a number of battles and law cases that most people in the audience had never heard of, including one emotional story about Primus King, an uneducated man who sued the Georgia Democratic Party for his right to vote in 1944, and won. It was a tremendous reminder that Obama's success was not a singular event or the work of one smart politician and his team of advisors, but was rather the latest blessed link in a long and arduous chain of events.

"Lest we forget that moments like this are not happenstance: They are the direct result of the work, sacrifice and passion of disturbers of the unjust peace."

1 comment:

Little Rudy said...

shite! I'm sorry I missed it. I let you out of my sight for one evening and you go and experience the highlight of your trip. I'll know better next time!