Honesty feels heady right now. For seven years, we have lived with the arid, us-against-them formulas of Bush’s menial mind, with the result that the nuanced exploration of America’s hardest subject is almost giddying. Can it be that a human being, like Wright, or like Obama’s grandmother, is actually inhabited by ambiguities? Can an inquiring mind actually explore the half-shades of truth?
Yes. It. Can.
The unimaginable South African transition that Nelson Mandela made possible is a reminder that leadership matters. Words matter. The clamoring now in the United States for a presidency that uplifts rather than demeans is a reflection of the intellectual desert of the Bush years.
Hillary Clinton said in January that: “You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose.” Wrong. America’s had its fill of the prosaic.
The unthinkable can come to pass. When I was a teenager, my relatives advised me to enjoy the swimming pools of Johannesburg because “next year they will be red with blood.”
But the inevitable bloodbath never came. Mandela walked out of prison and sought reconciliation, not revenge. Later Mandela would say: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Barack would have made an excellent target for poaching. Oh wait, he still is.