Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why I am Proud to be an American

Something remarkable is happening in this country.

When we are old and stooped, our teeth in a water glass, our feet swollen from heart failure, our ears ringing with tinnitus, and only our memories to take us back to our beloved forests, streams and fields, we will still remember two things: the name of every dog we have ever loved, and this time in American history.

Why this time?

We will remember this time not because Hillary lost Wisconsin, but because American won a long sad struggle with the darkest corners of its soul.

Later it will seem strange. It may already seem strange to some of the very young.

But you and I know how it has always been, and I think we can see now how it will soon be.

It is almost morning in America ... the beginning of a brand new day in which we will see the world in a new light. There will be still be shadow, of course. But we are no longer in the gloamin where the big wink and a knowing nod means a man's fate is decided ... or a woman's ... by something that is immutable and of no consequence.

Later the historians will say it began to happen this Spring, but since we are in it right now, the ice breaking up around us, the fast cold waters ripping around our calves, the cracking pops still shattering across the front page of our morning newspaper, let me say that it happened in Wisconsin. On a Tuesday.

There the Associated Press asked, and answered a simple question:

Q: How bad was Wisconsin for Clinton?
A: Very. Of the types of voters who usually support her, only older people —especially whites over age 65 — remained solidly loyal. She and Obama essentially split the votes of many groups she has carried easily in previous primaries, including white women, whites with no more than high school diplomas, white Democrats and whites earning under $50,000 annually. In one remarkable turnaround, white men without college degrees supported Clinton in previous primaries by a combined 52 percent to 37 percent, but in Wisconsin they backed Obama 60 percent to 38 percent. The Illinois senator also improved his usual healthy margins with the youngest, most liberal and best educated voters.

Only whites older that 65. Right.

And generally only the least educated among them. Right.

We know what that is.

That is the old addiction to bile and fear. That is the old voice, crawling up the back of the skull, murmuring "no we can't."

This is the last contortion; the flailing throws of rictus of that dark thing that has poached so much potential from this land.

But it is gut-shot and dying now. The last flash of light is fading, and it can smell its own death. It will howl a few times yet. It will betray its presence yet. But it cannot escape. Even if we lose it in the forest ahead, it is a dead thing walking.


Anonymous said...

You'll be happy to know that my mother that lives in Wisconsin and is 82 years-old, braved the bitter cold of the northern portion of the state and voted for Barak Obama. She too believes a new day in America is on the horizon.

M. Evans

Anonymous said...

I guess people have become exhausted with ecological crises. This one seems invisible:
Ocean ecosystems are nearing the verge of collapse because of the over fishing of one of the world's most important and little known species.
Each adult fish filters about four gallons of water a minute. Purging suspended particles that cause turbidity, this filter feeding clarifies the water, allowing sunlight to penetrate. This in turn encourages the growth of aquatic plants that release dissolved oxygen while also harboring a host of fish and shellfish. Even more important, the menhaden's filter feeding prevents or limits devastating algal blooms. Most of the phytoplankton consumed by menhaden consists of algae. Excess nitrogen can make algae grow out of control, and that's what happens when overwhelming quantities of nitrogen flood into our inshore waters from runoff fed by paved surfaces, roofs, detergent-laden wastewater, over-fertilized golf courses and suburban lawns, and industrial poultry and pig farms.
This can generate deadly blooms of algae, such as red tide and brown tide, which cause massive fish kills, then sink in thick carpets to the bottom, where they smother plants and shellfish, suck dissolved oxygen from the water, and leave dead zones