Tonight history will be made. It might be the bad kind–“never in history has a candidate won the election while receiving such a minority of the popular vote!?” But I think it is going to be the good kind–the “take your ‘men’ ‘women’ and ‘colored’ signs off the doors of the restrooms and shove them up your ass” good kind. Make no mistake; this is not the beginning of the post-race society. This is the somewhere closer to the end than the middle of the race-still-matters-but-not-always-to-the-bad society. The an-extraordinary guy-came-along-at-just-the-right-time-to-take-advantage of a perfect storm of Neocon corruption, Maverick implosion and Clintonian overconfidence to-win-the-day society.
Now the piper must be paid, and the piper will not be content to pass a tip cup through the crowd. The piper is going to want full front end royalties for both writing and performance, a generous share of ancillaries and lots and lots of vigorish for promised payments held in escrow all these years.
The drum beat was “change.” Everybody wanted change. Everybody voted for change. Even some hard core Indiana Republicans voted for Obama, because more than anything else they felt the need for change. Well, a change is going to come, but it’s a funny thing about change. Most people who want it tend to want it from someone else. “We need a change” tends to mean “You need to change.” When Obama has been the voice of change too often the voice was in the passive. Things will change. Priorities will change. But will WE change. Will the holders of the mandate use it only to cudgel the losers? I will hold my enemies accountable for their misdeeds, but will I be willing to hold myself to the higher standard that I always demanded of them? Will I be part of writing a new definition of success? Of service? Or will the new boss be the same as the old boss–just in more comfortable shoes?
For a while we who want change will have to settle for spare change. Times are tough. Stocks are down. for the next couple of years we won’t have much “change” to spare. Will we invest what we do have in the future or consolidate power in the now? Are we more interested in driving the stake into Conservatism or in servicing the engine of generational prosperity? Do we want to change the name on the trophy, or do we want to change the game?
All of this conjecture might be moot. Miss Congeniality dreamed last night that she woke up Vice President. But on the chance that when the votes get counted all of the votes are actually counted and America elects its first not-all-white President of the United State of America, let’s not treat his victory as the end of a long struggle. Let’s treat it as a first ball well rolled.The frame won’t be over until we all get together and see if we can pick up the spare.