David Brooks: Guest Opinion
August 29, 2008
Editors note: Our regular Saturday columnist, Meredith Carroll, is on maternity leave.
My fellow Americans, it is an honor to address the Democratic National Convention at this defining moment in history. We stand at a crossroads at a pivot point, near a fork in the road on the edge of a precipice in the midst of the most consequential election since last years American Idol.One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely.We must close the book on the bleeding wounds of the old politics of division and sail our ship up a mountain of hope and plant our flag on the sunrise of a thousand tomorrows with an American promise that will never die! For this election isnt about the past or the present, or even the pluperfect conditional. Its about the future, and Barack Obama loves the future because thats where all his accomplishments are.We meet today to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans, a generation that came of age amidst iced chais and mocha strawberry Frappuccinos, a generation with a historical memory that doesnt extend back past Coke Zero.We meet today to heal the divisions that have torn this country. For we are all one country and one American family, whether we are caring and thoughtful Democrats or hate-filled and war-crazed Republicans. We must bring together left and right, marinara and carbonara, John and Elizabeth Edwards. On United we stand, on US Airways, theres a 25-minute delay.Ladies and gentleman, I never expected to be speaking before you today. Like so many of our speakers at this convention, I come from a hard-working, middle-class family. I was leading a miserable little life, but, nevertheless, overcame great odds to live the American Dream. My great-grandfather fought in Pattons army, along with Barack Obamas great-grand uncles fourth cousin once removed.As a child, I was abandoned by my parents and lived with a colony of ants. We didnt have much in the way of material possession, but we did have each other and the ability to carry far more than our own body weights. When I was young, I was temporarily paralyzed in a horrible anteater accident, but I never gave up my dream: the dream of speaking at a national political convention so my speech could be talked over by Wolf Blitzer and a gang of pundits.And today we Democrats meet in Denver, a suburb of Boulder, a city whose motto is, A Taxi? You Must be Dreaming.And in Denver, we Democrats showed America that we have cute daughters who will someday provide us with prestigious car-window stickers. We heard Hillary Clintons ringing endorsement of the weak-looking thin guy whos bound to lose.We heard from Joe Biden, whose 643 years in the Senate make him uniquely qualified to pander to the middle class, whose family has been riding the Acela and before that the Metroliner for generations, who has been given a lifetime ban from the quiet car and who is himself a verbal train wreck waiting to happen.We got to know Barack and Michelle Obama, two tall, thin, rich, beautiful people who dont perspire, but who nonetheless feel compassion for their squatter and smellier fellow citizens. We know that Barack could have gone to a prestigious law firm, like his big donors in the luxury boxes, but he chose to put his ego aside to become a professional politician, president of the United States and redeemer of the human race. We heard about his time as a community organizer, the three most fulfilling months of his life.We were thrilled by his speech in front of the Greek columns, which were conscientiously recycled from the concert, Yanni, Live at the Acropolis. We were honored by his pledge, that if elected president, he will serve at least four months before running for higher office. We were moved by his campaign slogan, Vote Obama: Hes better than youll ever be. We were inspired by dozens of Democratic senators who declared their lifelong love of John McCain before denouncing him as a reactionary opportunist who would destroy the country.No, this country cannot afford to elect John Bushmccain. Under Republican rule, locusts have stripped the land, adults wear Crocs in public and M&Ms have lost their flavor. We must instead ride to the uplands of hope!For as Barack Obama suggested last night, wherever there is a president who needs to tap our natural-gas reserves, Ill be there. Wherever there is a need for a capital-gains readjustment for targeted small businesses, Ill be there. Wherever there is a president committed to direct diplomacy with nuclear proliferators, Ill be there, too! God bless the Democrats, and God Bless America!David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times.One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely.
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