"Whenever the people shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." ~Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 1861
Okay, make sure you've marked the date: June 3, 2008.
On that day, ostensibly, an African American man became the presidential nominee for one of America's two major political parties for the first time in this country's history. Clearly, this is and was an accomplishment for the ages and there was every reason to shout and click our heels on that day and beyond. The symbolism of the moment was awesome, and the achievement will continue to benefit us spiritually, emotionally, and maybe even a bit tangibly. We want the taste to last as long as it possibly can.
But be careful: make sure the celebration fits the deed. Click those heels in moderation and save most of your champagne for another party a little later in the year.
There is no doubt that Mr. Obama has won a tremendous battle, but it's only a major skirmish. The real war is only just beginning. That's the one for the hearts and minds of enough voters who will produce the 270+ electoral college tallies in November, 2008. Celebrating too soon has frequently left us ill-prepared for the next level of the struggle and we have lost whatever momentum and advantage we previously enjoyed. We shouldn't ignore such lessons from our own experiences, and we should not repeat political mistakes.
We all well remember the tricky things that happen when Republicans count the vote. Has anyone paid attention to who the Secretaries of State are in the big electoral vote states? Are any of them Republican and working on the McCain for President Committee in their states? 2000 and 2004 should have taught us all to watch who's minding the store and who's counting the money (votes).
What can you do to make sure you do your part? That's simple and direct: make sure you and all your friends go to the polls and vote in November, or at least send in your absentee ballot. This one you cannot sit out on and expect positive results.
And by the way, even before that political war is enjoined for November, let us not be negligent and forget the rules of engagement for the game we are still in. Hillary Clinton may very well fulfill her threat to take the remaining primary fight all the way to the Democratic Convention in August. 'Aww,' you say. 'She wouldn't do that, would she?'
And why shouldn't she? She would have little to lose and a great deal to gain. She'd get more exposure for another potential run in 2012 (just as Reagan did when he lost in 1976). She'd have superlative leverage to compel the content she wants on the Democratic National Platform. She could force the issue about new party rule changes and about choices she wants for political appointments. She could, theoretically, even still win the nomination if she can convince 200 or so delegates to switch from Obama to her. Remember, the unit rule that the Democratic Party had in the recent past has been eliminated, so pledged delegates from any state are not required to vote for the candidate they were sent to the Convention to support. They can change their minds. Ted Kennedy, Jerry Brown, and others in the recent past have tried that at the Convention, and Bill Clinton actually succeeded at it in 1992. While it may or may not be in the best interests of the Democratic Party for Hillary Clinton to continue her uphill battle for the nomination, it certainly would be in hers. A pyrrhic victory may appeal to her sensibilities right now.
So, stay vigilant dear people. Even this major skirmish may not be over just yet, and the short lady is playing her chips as tough as nails.
Meanwhile, let's all support the brother all the way to the presidential inauguration in January, 2009. Indeed, it is way past time for a change!