Nothing like music from Les Mis to get me going. A new Barack Obama video is stirring on YouTube. It’s set in the final hours before the November 4 elections. The idealistic faces of young professionals working in some Obama headquarters are fearful and weary, but like the young revolutionists of Les Mis they rally behind an inspired and funny rendition of the powerful song, One More Day.
I’ve resisted being pulled into the horrible, nonstop hate/love noise buzzing in blogland. But that video brought me back about 38 years, to a scene played out almost the same way, in the small New York City headquarters of Adam Walinsky, another young, idealistic lawyer running for office in 1970.
Of course in those days there was no YouTube, no Internet, no blogs. Walinsky, on a Kennedy-inspired ticket, was running for NY state Attorney General. Walinsky’s words, mission of substance, and vision of change had fired up a group of young urban idealists. In 1970 we were a bit more scraggly looking than the Obama team depicted in the video, but we were young urban idealists nonetheless.
As an editor of my college paper, a grassroots community organizer and would-be journalist who sought to change the world, I was one dreamer of the early 70s who put her soul and sweat into an individual who stood for her ideals. I volunteered day and night for Walinsky’s campaign – and I can’t begin to name all the similarities I see now between our motley volunteer crew and the Obama campaign.
What’s different today is the nonstop mean-spirited madness underway. I am dismayed. Too much spewing on both sides of the fence. Too many darts thrown with no one caring about the consequences. This was not the way in 1970. We debated and protested, yes, but thoughtful discussion based upon the issues was our secret weapon, not 24/7 blog tirades.
I wonder what America wants now. It looks like everyone wants to keep talking at each other, taking pot shots, churning opinions upon opinions. Or maybe we are starting to realize that it's time to focus on the issues and the facts...that it is time to cut the noise so each of us can make thoughtful decisions on November 4, 2008. So much depends on this.
OK, I got that out of my system. Now back to being just a Tucson cowgirl doing her thing here in the desert. Everyone is too busy blogging to listen, anyway.
(Accompanying photo is of fellow volunteers, in Walinsky headquarters, NYC, circa 1970. Do I sound like an ancient hippie if I say, "those were the days?")