Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Duper Giant Fat Tuesday

The first president I remember — the first one I have my own memories of — is Reagan. We lived in a small Kansas town that at the time seemed rather far removed from just about everything except the Soviet Union. Most of the U.S.'s planes were put together in Wichita (still known as the "Air Capital of the World," by the way), which meant that it was designated a first-strike target by that other superpower. According to predictions and all sorts of maps with damage estimates, we (give or take a few megatons) would go up with Wichita, and so in hearing about and watching Reagan versus the Evil Empire I felt part of something epic. I even went so far as to write a research paper for high-school English entitled "America's Red Threat," in which I argued for more or less eternal vigilance against the spread of domestic communism. I still have that paper and look at it now and then — a fossil that rather pristinely preserves a time and a mind.

Times and minds are, to say the least, different in all sorts of interesting ways, but again it's hard not to feel the size of the moment. Odds are (at least right now) that a Democrat will win the 2008 election and will likely serve for eight years. And given that the Democratic nominees include a woman and an African American, odds are that a woman or African American will likely be the first president that our kids remember. I had believed that such a thing would happen, of course, and in my lifetime. That it could happen so soon is testimony both to the utter train wreck that is the Bush administration and to the possibility of reinvention that American democracy affords itself. My new hope is that by the time Q and The Boy arrive at our age most people will think it odd to mention, let alone make much of, a candidate's race or gender or religion. That a candidate won't have to put forward a position on torture because only one position will be habitable. Such a hope doesn't seem all that frivolous today.

Anyway, I'm off to indulge myself with Super Duper Tuesday results from across the Internets, but first one quick story. On our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art last Sunday, we came across smiling Obama supporters passing out flyers and stickers. (We took the flyer but passed on the sticker: we strive to keep our stroller as neutral as Switzerland.) Back on our way, we asked Q and The Boy who they thought would win Tuesday, and they both said Clinton. When asked the same question tonight before bed, Q yelled out "Roger Federer." Now that would make for an interesting paper.

Happy Super Duper Giant (Mardi Gras) Tuesday.

(Note: Delicious U.S. cookie courtesy of my wife.)

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