Posted byat 10th November, 2008
America – the Next Generation, by Mike Gold
Brainiac On Banjo
“’Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk,’” Jay-Z told the crowd. ‘Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run.’ An anonymous black man on the ‘L’ in Chicago put his own spin on it when he announced to a car full of strangers: ‘Rosa Parks sat down. Martin Luther King marched. Barack Obama ran. And my grandchildren will fly.’”
Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, November 5 2008
Well, they called him an elitist. They called him a Muslim. They called him an Arab. They called him a socialist. They called him a communist. They called him a terrorist. They called him everything but black, and he gently shoved it back in their faces. We all did, all 52% of us who turned out to vote last week in record numbers – a plurality undreamed of (and, sadly, unneeded) by his predecessor.
It’s about time.
Barack Obama is my landsman. I am proud to say we both were Chicago community organizers, although I was at it about 12 years before our President-Elect. When he addressed the hundreds of thousands of Americans in Chicago’s Grant Park last week, I couldn’t help but note that 40 years prior that was the very park where President Johnson and Mayor Daley had the national guard and the local police tear gas and beat the poo out of us so that the people of this nation could have a voice in our own future.
It was the very park where Denys Cowan remarked to me about 20 years ago that despite the large number of people in Grant Park, he and I were just about the only interracial duo walking around together.
President-Elect Obama’s new chief-of-staff, Rahm Emanuel, is the congressman from the neighborhood in which I grew up. So when I see Obama taking the oath of office in January, I’ll be seeing a person who looks a lot like me.
So will lots of people, each for their own reasons. Oh, he’s not “one of us.” We weren’t president of the Harvard Law Review who graduated with an automatic write your own ticket for life card and if we were, most of us probably would have gone for the money. We probably can’t speak as eloquently. We probably can’t smile as warmly in the middle of a shit storm.
President-Elect Obama might be smart and he certainly has style, but you could say the same about Fred Astaire. President-Elect Obama gives us something that Still-President Bush, and former President Clinton, and original President Bush could not – and the hallowed shill President Reagan gave only to rich Republicans.
President-Elect Obama gives us hope. And just in the nick of time, too. He and Senator McCain were running about neck and neck before the stock market crash, but when push came to shove, we put our future in the hands of a smart person who knows the real trick to leadership is the ability to inspire.
Well, heck. Let’s give that a shot.
Times change, if you work at it. I’m feeling better about this world than I have in a long, long time.
• • • • •
To those of you who have endured this column previously, my thanks for following me over to www.michaeldavisworld.com. To those who are experiencing my uttering for the first time, you’re in for a bumpy ride that, I hope, you will find entertaining, amusing, mind-rattling, and/or offensive.
I want to thank my old pal MOTU Michael Davis and the awesomely talented and damn beautiful Tatiana El-Khouri for giving me a place near the door to park the Banjo. Like Michael’s Straight, No Chaser, this column got its start at ComicMix.com a mere 91 weeks ago and, if you’re really bored or researching a lawsuit, you can probably find the earlier columns there.
I’ll probably have less of a comics feel to the Banjo in this venue, although it will most certainly be there. I welcome your comments and, as before, promise to be as responsive as time and sanity allows. And I’ll do my best to be polite. But I refuse to act my age.
Damn, what a great drawing of Mike that is. BTW-Mike Gold has not acted his age since I met him 20 years ago when I was six and he was 60. -MOTU