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Pardes Yehuda: A hopeful sort of positive...

Monday, September 1, 2008

A hopeful sort of positive...

I'm not quite sure how to frame it... My thoughts are scattered. The last week seems to have been a sort of breakthrough period in American history. History happens as we remember it; and in a world of instant media gratification, memory becomes an interesting thing. But I imagine that "history" will look back on the late summer of 2008 as a cultural turning point in the American narrative.

In the last week, we have witnessed gender and race barriers broken on an international scene. Today I learned, according to the "blogosphere" that VP candidate Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy, and 4 month-old son, Trig, was actually birthed by her 17 year-old daughter. This, of course, was preposterous. (not worth the link, although I have to admit--I couldn't put it past the GOP to cover that one up, if it were to be true.) And almost as if it was timed to squash the rumor, it was announced that the 17 year-old daughter, Bristol is in fact 5 months pergnant herself. Thankfully, the family, and it seems the general populace of the country, is supportive of the family. Which it ought to be.

So what's positive about all of this... I suppose it is the knowledge that America has breached a sort of "squeamishness" hurdle. Our candidates are real people. We've known that they've been cheats and liars and scoundrels. We know they've been statesmen and diplomats and blah, blah blah. But they're real people, and they're the matriarch of a family of five from Alaska. They're a black man with a white mother from middle America with a diverse background, who grew to be a law student and professor, and father of two daughters.

The "positive" aspect of this, though, has more to do with the "historicity" of the events rather than the events themselves. In college I had the opportunity to study the Russian Revolution from solely documentary evidence; it seemed as if it were a play-by-play report, almost of a sporting event--and in the end, the world changed. I don't know if the world has changed, but America certainly has, at least in my opinion.

Politically, it's all still the same--protest and demonstration repressed in brutal manners in Denver and St. Paul. Two of the candidates are still "rich, boring white men," although Joe's gotta flashy smile.

All the same, culturally, there was a shift. We all could laugh at Juno because we all knew it happens every day. Now it's heading towards the White House, and it's in every newspaper, radio and television communique in the world.

I don't know if that's necessarily a positive thing, but I know that change is usually progress, progress always has the potential to be positive, and only our memories will know the difference.

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