A Brief History on These United States of DisUnion
It was designed to unify. A star for each colony, showing our freedom from Great Britain. The American Flag was designed and divided into red, white and blue as a symbol of revolution, a true democracy. Then during slavery, a new flag surfaced, The Confederate, and the Union was divided. Thanks to Lincoln, and a bloody Civil War, we were yet again unified, or so we thought.
Among wedge issues and the pundits who promulgated them, in 2000 emerged a strange new division -- red states versus blue states. First coined by Meet The Press' Tim Russert, our maps and mindsets were forever changed. Not quite a civil, but perhaps an ideological war, this latest division has since morphed into peculiarities including Tea Partiers and Occupiers, both humming their own grassroots version of God Bless America, adding to the cacophony of cluttered cable news. It was in this environment that renewed talk of secession resurfaced, as part of the most fringe elements of the far right; as a protest against their view of government intervention into their lives and a rejection of the pluralist society American has become as demographics and history shifted beneath their feet. For them President Obama represented the most virulent of attacks on their identities even as a majority of us reaffirmed our believe in "Hope and Change".
Obama the Orator
Perhaps he's more of a rock star than political figure. He stepped out to raucous applause for a second term, despite voter suppression and a chronic recession. Many were hoping "Hope and Change" would resurface, and Obama didn't disappoint.
With the precision of James Bond, the vision of Morpheus and the humility of Gandhi , Obama awed with the verbal dexterity of a butterfly, stinging division like a bee. Unlike Romney whose forked tongue was used to spite 47 percent of Americans, Obama spoke disheartening truths and signs of progress to unify and inspire this fragile and divided nation. In fact it was more a serenade with a spoon full of sugar, hitting high notes including:
It moves forward because of you... the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression... lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope...
... while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.
As Obama acknowledged that people voted for action, not politics as usual, Obama turned to the politics of purple, the politics of unity, of a deeper union where secession is less than an afterthought as we seek to heal a deeply divided nation.
The Purple Haze Ahead
As Obama continued to thank all who took part in our democracy, reminding us of other nations unable to do so, his primary goal became blending blue and red for a more united purple vision of prosperity. Obama instead of spiking the football, promised to meet with Romney and listen to both Democrats and Republicans. "Despite our disagreements... progress will come in fits and starts."
But progress will come, for as a nation, we are better together, better despite diametrically opposed views, better in spite of ourselves and our differences and competing priorities. For together we can solves these challenges together as we have before, as Lincoln before him and as others most assuredly will do after him. Obama spoke of immigrants and young boys in the hood... pushing forward, of mothers and daughters, of families who sacrifice everything for the chance of a brighter future for their children. As our president, as our leader, our commander, Obama spoke of hope anew as we push forward into the unknown.
Commander in Chief and the Politics of Division
Commander connotes there is someone telling other people what to do. Invariably, there are a myriad of responses to a command -- compliance, resistance, or surrender. Majorities can further complicate this matter, hence preventing or pushing past the vision and mission of the commander. As we have seen over the past four years, being a commander doesn't always mean you have power. In a pluralistic democracy such as our own, the use of the word commander itself strain credulity, for power should rest in the people, for the people and by the people. With the rise of purple politics and the pervasive influence of PAC and SuperPacs, American confidence in our institutions and the ability of elected officials to represent the true interests of their constituents has devolved into something worse than apathy.
In Obama 2.0, we see a return of the hope of the possible, a chance to revisit the last four years and undo some of our failings and in-fighting, a chance to write American history anew; for as JFK said before him, "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
Like JFK and FDR, Obama seemed to transcend party divisions, focusing on the individual and hence the collective goals of America. He spoke in a passionate purple, letting us know that we can trust government and ourselves again. At the moment Obama asked us to embrace "love, charity, duty and patriotism" he discarded his commander status, in exchange for Unifier in Chief.
"It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try."
Let's face it, Romney would never have been able to speak with the same level of passion, and sincerity. Obama's triumphant purple end was drowned out by those same black, white, Latino and gay faces, etc, cheering as if the president was tone-deaf. Those cheers let you know his speech/serenade was pitch-perfect.
Let freedom ring. Martin Luther King Jr.