May 18, 2008 * MAY IS NATIONAL BICYCLE MONTH*
By Ken Krayeske • 10:10 AM EST
Vacation done, I finished reading Art Spiegelman’s two-part masterpiece Maus on the flight to JFK from Burbank.
Maus describes the amazing survival of Vladek Spiegelman in Auschwitz. Art, his cartoonist son, penned the history, with chilling detail, like Vladek’s nocturnal vision accurately foretelling the precise date of departure from a concentration camp.
It was a quick but heavy read, and I needed a walk after I finished. Wandering the airplane aisle, I spotted a headline on a seat back tv: "Edwards to Endorse Obama."
I hurried back to my seat for a camera close up of Obama announcing his guilt about the DNC punishing Michigan. As penance, he brought a surprise: John Edwards to drive another nail in Hillary's coffin.
Thought Zero: Funny how Clinton warns that Obama will not win the Wolverine State in November because of the Dean sanctions, but there Obama stood on stage, soaking in adulation from the crowds and Edwards.
First thought: It's about time. Speculation was on Edwards to go Clinton. Wow. Edwards' 18 delegates can't kill the undead Clinton campaign, but it offset the media play of her West Virginia victory.
Second thought: What must it do to your head to hear a former Veep candidate that you vanquished for Prez a few months ago sing your praises? Obama's gotta be getting a big head. If not, it would be interesting to learn how he is keeping himself real.
Third thought: I would continue fighting like hell if I were her. Clinton has better odds of winning the presidency than I do winning Lotto.
Anyone who runs for the presidency is delusional no matter what. She would be even more delusional to stop before the primary season ends. She's playing for a fumble, or Michigan and Florida.
We need her voice out there, reminding us to perservere. And reminding us how not to play the game.
Fourth thought: Marshal McLuhan's medium is the message question: What does it say about our world that traveling at half the speed of sound, 30,000 feet in the air, we can get live political news coverage?
And what is it with me, air travel and Obama? In an airport in the Maldives back in early January, I first learned the news that Obama had bested Clinton the front-runner in Iowa. Was that a vision of a new America from afar?
Then when Obama came to Hartford on the eve of Super Tuesday – abstracts felt tangible. I was sold. But I have since wavered.
Barack disappoints like Edwards and Clinton: rhetoric is not action. None performed in the Senate, so why expect more in the White House?
Fifth thought: Edwards spiced up his tired Two Americas speech by quoting Roger Waters. Tear down the wall. Tear down the wall that divides America's rich and poor.
Kind of like Reagan admonishing Premiere Gorbachev. What about Greg Palast’s electronic Berlin Wall of media censorship? Or the walls in Palestine, Baghdad’s Green Zone, and at the Mexican border?
Or the cash wall dividing the Democratic party between the corporate wing and the progressive wing.
None of those will come down anytime soon, despite Dem-Ocrat promises to end the war in Jan. 2009.
Sixth thought: Edwards' poverty talk always rings hollow in light of his personal fortune.
Seventh thought: Is this race still going on? Will it ever end? When? After baseball season?
Eighth thought: Obama acknowledged the rhetorical power of Edwards' delivery. But that's what words are - the mesmerizing tool of poets, priests and politicians. If Obama wins, Edwards is AG.
Ninth thought: I had a dream that Al Gore shook my hand and told me that in two weeks, the internecine Democratic Party struggle would be solved. That was more than a week ago.
Unfortunately, Vladek Spiegelman seems to have gotten all the dreams with prophetic power.
Tenth thought: Edwards and Obama hunt power, not truth. Prophetic voices – Gore Vidal, Cornel West, Art Spiegelman - speak truth to power, discussing tyranny, dictatorship and the end of the American republic at the hands of Bush.
Obama's currency in politicis is illusion. But the analysis in today's NYTimes about Obama's memoir pushes the vision of Obama as truth-teller. Obama the writer employs fictions like psuedonyms, composite characters and reordering of actual events to tell his story, yet, according to the Times, it's okay:
"The book is so literary," said Arnold Rampersad, a professor of English at Stanford University who teaches autobiography... "It is so full of clever tricks — inventions for literary effect — that I was taken aback, even astonished. But make no mistake, these are simply the tricks that art trades in, and out of these tricks is supposed to come our realization of truth."
In the end, though, Obama must acknowledge the fallacy of Bush's legitimacy in order to ascend to the White House. So Obama plays the game with Bush, only the fantasy seems more believable when Barack spins it.