Monday, March 22, 2010

How long, Not Long

So this week President Obama achieved something that 6 US Presidents have attempted and failed by passing (almost) universal healthcare. The bill is big, clunky and very imperfect but it is by any measure a great political achievement for this President.

This week also marks another momentous event in US history...It is the 45th anniversary of Dr Kings march on Selma....We have come a long way as a country from that terrible time but watching Congressman John Lewis walk through the tea partiers (some of them calling him the n word) as he mounted the steps of the Capitol yesterday I felt an element of deja vu.

While this time around there were no dogs, or racist white policemen with batons and water hoses like in 1965, the seething, over the top anger of the crowd felt eerily similar to that bloody sunday when he attempted to cross the Pettus Bridge. 45 years ago John Lewis was beaten to within an inch of his life, this time he was just called the n word...Now thats progress for you.

It was great to see Obama leading again and being inspirational. He has given Progressives some hope and if the job numbers improve even a little bit he is going to have a good year...I must say when the Yeas passed 216 at well past midnight I did my own little private fist pump and wondered if Teddy Kennedy was smiling down on us from his perch on high (purely metaphorically of course) and raising a glass of fine Scotch and toasting his old pals in Congress.

So in this moment of Liberal triumph its an appropriate time to share Dr Kings...How Long....Not Long speech given on March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama, a few days after his successful Selma march. It is imho his third best speech (after I have a Dream and I have seeeeen the Promised Land speech given the day before he died)....I just love his face in this clip, the resonant, sonorous beauty of his voice and the power of his delivery....and ending with the Battle Hymn of the Republic....Goosebump time!!! (and to think he was only 35 years of age.....)


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