Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 7, 2008 9 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

The Triumph of Hope

By Suzanne Fields


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I voted, therefore I am. That's a fair updating of Descartes after a total immersion in politics over an endless presidential campaign. The campaign flattened and fragmented us into categories of gender, race and class. Candidates and their surrogates appealed to the limited ways most of us see ourselves. But at the end of the ordeal the fact of the victory of Barack Obama, if not necessarily his politics or what he might do with his mandate, redeems the pain.


The dividing of the electorate by category, whether first to set Hillary Clinton apart for her femininity or Barack Obama for his pale brown skin, was insulting, as though a vote should be determined by female features or skin color. Many blacks voted for Barack Obama in racial solidarity — who can blame them? (Many women voted for sexual solidarity, too.) Blacks are pleased and proud to see a black man elected to the highest seat in a land where only a generation ago he couldn't have voted in several of the states that Tuesday night gave him their electoral votes. Many whites voted for him simply because he was black and they like what that says about themselves.


But Barack Obama was not a candidate to avenge black grievance; it was not color that produced his landslide in the oft-maligned Electoral College. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, an authentic candidate of grievance, never drew such allegiance or affection. This candidate persuaded a majority of Americans that his eloquence suggested that together we could overcome the stereotype that separates white from black.


With his Ivy League education and cultured voice, he reflects both the heritage of his black father and the culture of his white mother. One observer puts it bluntly, "He reads white." His promise to ease partisan rancor will be harder to make good. We haven't yet heard how and where he's willing to compromise with the diminished Republican conservative minority.


The law after the Civil War branded any person with a provable ounce of black blood as "colored" — the so-called "one drop rule." Identity was built on this prejudice and used to keep blacks from entering the white mainstream. Even with a half-white heritage he could not escape the orbit of angry blacks who could neither forget nor forgive the slights of those days now swiftly receding into the embrace of the past. This explains how Obama, with his insights and eloquence, could never over two decades in the pews summon the will to confront the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for his racist pulpit rants against white America.


He ran against an authentic American hero who served his country with years of courage and distinction, some of them spent in a squalid Hanoi prison cell. But John McCain's heroic past was precisely that, the past. Young voters can summon scant appreciation for deeds performed before their time. Americans live in the present tense, and like a loser on a reality show, John McCain was told, "You're history."


Barack Obama was the man bathed in the warm sentimentality of the moment. Real-time experience with dealing with the real-life complexities of domestic policy and foreign affairs yields few rewards measured against celebrity. Better to have George W. Bush to kick around, even if only in the person of the old soldier.


Perceptions of race changed over the months of the campaign; perceptions of gender, not so much. Hillary Clinton's early "inevitability" was determined more by her last name than by her first. Fair or not, bringing her husband into her campaign, offering "buy one, get one free," recalled only earlier failure. She was hailed as heroine by the sisterhood, but her past played against her with everyone else.


The nomination of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate further exploded myths of feminism. The older sisters wanted to elect a woman simply because she was a woman; how could Hillary's liberals not loathe Sarah Palin? They said it was because she flubbed her first interviews because, quick study or not, she was late in turning in her homework. She dazzled nearly everyone else, reason enough to hate her.


So now we brace for an uncertain future, where we can get back to feeling like whole people rather than stick figures generated by pollsters. Descartes said something else that applies here: "Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

Up

Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles