Friday, February 22nd, 2008

2G2K Circus :: This Post Is Not Original

Hey fam, still dealing with the flu bug in the family here but I wanted to drop in to let you know two things: first is that the estimable Ferentz Lafargue is continuing to rock the 2G2K, so check out his blog to see what you’ve missed.

The other is to talk some about Hillary’s last stand last night. She knew she only had two cards to play–health care and the phony plagiarism charge–and the panel handed her another with Cuba. I think she got some jabs in with health care and Cuba, but these were not new points. It would seem by now that voters have made up their minds that Obama’s differences on health care don’t trouble them greatly (tho I still think Hillary has a more coherent case for her plan). On foreign policy, she outflanked him with something like a Diplomacy 101 tutorial, and he sounded a bit awkward in his response. But again, this doesn’t seem to trouble voters who have shifted to his camp.

(LATE MORNING ADD-ON :: Ned Sublette emails to say that clearly neither candidate has a coherent Latin American policy, judging by their incoherence on Cuba. That’s worrisome.)

On the rest of the points Obama either won, or they had virtually no differences at all. And in that instance, Obama won too. In this primary, voters aren’t voting against a candidate. (This is why the theories about Asian Americans and Latinos being unable to vote for an African American candidate have all been garbage…uh, Hawai’i going 76% for Obama, hello? And the inexorable shift of Latinos post-Super Tuesday to Hillary’s camp? Real deal, Holyfield.) No, voters are going aspirational. So if the two candidates are just about the same, they’re moving to the one who inspires them.

Which brings me to the last point: Hillary’s ridiculous plagiarism charges. Most folks, I think, are Gnarls Barkley on this: she could go on and on and on, but who cares? If she wants originality, she can check Dreams From My Father from the library. Or she could pledge to fire her own speechwriters and write all of her stumps by herself in a distant cave away from the talking masses.

But she shouldn’t even try to argue borrowing is a character flaw. Campaign speeches don’t need to come footnoted. Martin Luther King, Jr., has been forgiven his own plagiarism because the moment demanded “I Have A Dream”, whether or not the three words were arranged by Republican Archibald Carey. (In which case, I bet there was still some 18th-century child who woke up one morning and said, “Mummy, I have a dream.”)

In a democracy, the best ideas, by definition, must have multiple authors.

Just to get all writerly for a second? Writing is like dancing. You can only move your body in certain directions. That’s why we are enthralled by people who can do seemingly impossible things with theirs. And while they remind us that the body is capable of amazing and beautiful things, they also remind us it still has its limits and it is locked in time.

Language is the same. If Deval Patrick and Barack Obama had the same thought, it could be because that idea’s time has come. If Patrick’s way of expressing that idea inspired Obama and that in turn inspired us, well that’s how an idea becomes manifested in the world. What did those people fond of the internets used to call it back in the day? Oh, yeah. A virus.

Before I go back to being Mother Theresa and tending to the sick babies, I did want to say that I thought Hillary ended the evening very well. “Whatever happens to Senator Obama or I,” she said, placing a hand on Obama’s shoulder, “we’ll be fine.” It was a graceful way to close her last debate, to say goodbye to the 2008 Democratic primary.

posted by @ 7:29 am | 1 Comment

One Response to “2G2K Circus :: This Post Is Not Original”

  1. w&w says:

    indeed, a fine ending. of course, by her own criteria, hillary xerox’d her concluding remarks —

    glass houses, knamean.

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