Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Day 45 Years in the Making and Why It's So Personal

I was only 3 years old when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the "I Have A Dream Speech" on the Washington Mall so, obviously, I wasn't there. Yet it seems that every day of my life has been shaped by the words spoken that day. I've seen the video footage so many times that it seems that those events are a part of my personal experience. However those are images captured through a lens and someone else's point of view.

I have shadows of memories of watching the funeral of John F. Kennedy but my recollections of his life and his Presidency are all courtesy of video footage, docu-dramas and books from someone else's point of view.

It seems that every day of my 48 years I've measured my life, (my view of the world, my personal politics and social conscience) politicians and my country by the benchmarks established by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

So when I woke up this morning and had no Internet service due to a defective modem and Comcast said that they couldn't get out until tomorrow, I had a bit of an emotional crisis.

How could it be that I wouldn't be able to blog about the day that it seems that I have waited for all of my life?

Thank heavens for my friend Bob who knows that I'm a historical and political nerd. Bob patiently allowed me to vent and yes, cry, until a plan was developed to get me back online today. As a blogger, freelance writer, and elder caregiver, "I get by with a little help (actually a lot of help) from my friends."

In hind sight, I apologize for being more than a little snippy with the Comcast customer service rep. After all how could he know what this day means to me.

I have lived through the assassinations of RFK, MLK and RFK; the Viet Nam war, Watergate, Iran-Contra and every other political scandal of the past forty some years.

As a child I stayed up and watched political conventions with my Mom. Remember the convention coverage of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley then later,Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings? If you don't then believe me, those conventions didn't look anything like the one we've seen this week.

I proudly cast my first vote in a Presidential election for Jimmy Carter in 1980 and could not believe that the American people elected Ronald Reagan. I've been encouraged by Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan. I've voted for every Democratic presidential candidate from Carter to Kerry, including Michael Dukakis. Poor Michael Dukakis.

And through it all I still held on to the words and speeches from my childhood.

However when the election was stolen from Al Gore in 2000
my hope began to fade. And when it happened again in 2004 with John Kerry I was mad as hell. I was disillusioned, disappointed with the American people, disgusted by the swiftboat tactics of Karl Rove and determined that I wouldn't let a day pass that I didn't write a post, sign a petition, write a letter or share a news story that would help end the reign of Bush/Cheney.

And now, as I sit here waiting for Senator Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the Democratic party's nomination as their presidential candidate I know that I am witnessing and writing about history from my point of view.

This day has been 45 years in the making and for me, it's so very personal.

Related posts:

I'm Starting to Feel It -- Hope

Laughter Turned to Tears

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