Obama's America


Apropos of Obama's extraordinary race speech, I thought I'd share a snippet of writing that didn't work its way it into my cover story on Obama's field campaign. It reflects the fact that the post-racial coalition Obama is working to build is already, in part, a reality.

There has recently been the laughable suggestion that the Obama campaign is the dominion of — as a Clinton surrogate put it on the night of her defeat in Wisconsin — "latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust-fund babies."

It's the same line of attack used by the arch conservative Club For Growth on Howard Dean in 2004. But the contrast of that rhetoric to the reality on the ground at the Obama rally I attended at the Plaza de Guadalupe in San Antonio's heavily Hispanic, downtrodden West side couldn't have been more stark.

The overflow crowd of 3,000 that packed into in this public square — in the shadow of a three-story tall replica of a votive candle dedicated to la virgen de Guadalupe — is enough to give me a Hillary-Clinton-in-New-Hampshire moment every time I think back on it.

It looked like something Dr. King might have glimpsed from the mountaintop:

A middle-aged, working class African American couple is sitting next to a graying Asian man with hearing aids. Next to him: a young Hispanic man with slicked back hair, a bushy mustache a red T-shirt decrying the deaths of immigrants at the border. At his side is a white man with close cropped hair, his blond toddler daughter fidgeting on his lap.

And so on. And so on. Like so many snapshots from an Obama family reunion.

Ok. It's true. They didn't join hands and sing "Free at last."

But as the first African-American front-runner in the history of our presidential politics took the stage, they did raise their voices in unison to chant, Si, Se Puede.

Yes We Can.

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