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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Change is Gonna Come

Theme Music for this post from, The Last FM, is Sam Cooke's, "A Change is Gonna Come".

Geraldine Ferraro resigned from the Clinton campaign today over comments she made to a newspaper reporter. I'm in the minority of Americans who gave Ms. Ferraro my vote when she ran with Walter Mondale in 1984.

Barack Obama deflected the comment citing "divisiveness" without making any explicit accusation of racism. Ferraro wasn't having any of it. She angrily declared she was falsely accused and then listed her liberal credentials on race, class and gender. Perhaps she was prodded by the cub-pack press which cares little for subtle distinction. Perhaps it was a shout out to the so called "Angry White Voter." If so, it was pretty well scripted.

This story isn't about Geraldine Ferraro. This story is about the change that is coming and the speed at which it is coming. The fact that we Americans aren't prepared for a national debate about race indicates how awkward and difficult change can be and how far we still have to go.

Ferraro is an experienced pol who supports her candidate. I don't think she is a racist. I suspect her intention was to help her candidate in a way that ought to be as outdated as the comments that nagged her run with Mondale. Perhaps she meant to play to the sympathetic emotions of older women who experienced change in the 60's and 70's. Perhaps she meant to make choosing Obama more difficult for whites - the way that some men made it difficult for other men to vote for a woman in 1984.

Her comment reminds me of the old guys I knew who objected to working with women on the basis that the "girls" were getting special treatment.

Ms. Ferraro, I wonder if you remember those days a little too well.

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