Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 ... the unforgotten ... by gimleteye

To tens of millions of Americans, today's inauguration of a new American president is the end to a national nightmare; one of the most unpopular presidencies in US history.

Barack Obama's presidency, that begins today, should and will be held as a unique event. One that stands on its own. But many have noted as well that President Obama is the legacy of former president George W. Bush. As fate would have it, that presidential legacy began in Florida.

I wouldn't begin to know, how to total the number of Floridians who understood the consequences of a Bush victory in 2000, who committed their time and energy as activists to the Gore campaign and, importantly, began on November 5th to fight for a fair and equitable process to recount the contested ballots. Is it a few dozen? A few hundred? Few, in the media, have looked backward along this particular railway track. There is not a single word in today's edition of The Miami Herald, for instance, on this passage through darkness to light. Whatever their number, they are the unforgotten.

As Barack Obama's hand rests on Lincoln's bible, his hand will stop up an equally historic pain. The trauma began at dawn of November 5th, 2000. Leading to that day, candidate Al Gore did not have Clinton's help in Florida, and in key respects sailed with faulty GPS coordinates on a political map. The trauma bled out the following month with a botched recount, steered in important respects by the president's brother, then Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The worst happened in Miami, where youthful Republican partisans pretending to be aggrieved locals parachuted in to protest the Miami-Dade recount. At the moment of crisis, key Democrats like then-mayor Alex Penelas disappeared like smoke, for reasons of their own, helping send the election to be settled by the US Supreme Court.

History matters. Every eloquent speech of president-elect Obama this week has drawn attention to this fact. To those Floridians, then, who understood the stakes and what consequences would befall the nation in terms of balance, equity, and the protection of democracy; to those Floridians who lived with the results along with the rest of the world-- today's presidential inauguration of Barack Obama represents the first moment of relief in more than eight years. But there is a cautionary note, always.

Only people who have studied history understand: we hope for change but we learn from the past. From Miami, we know how bittersweet that knowledge can be.


geniusofdespair said...

I'm one of the "unforgotten" you describe. But I feel more like one of the forgotten.

I was in Palm Beach watching the reports on hanging chad ballots. I was one of those who was shouted at by busloads of Texas people (many with blond bouffant hairdos, you just knew they weren't local even without looking at the bus license plates from Texas).

Yes I am one of those people.

Dr. Know said...

How ironic that I moved from GA to FL back in 1992 to escape the legal shenanigans of boatload of southern GOP cretins, only to have Jeb Bush move in as governor and replace Chiles. Then to watch as the state was stuffed with partisan hacks and cronies which ultimately led to that wretched election fiasco. I subsequently moved to NJ, after a quick trip to Austin in 1998 to deride the little AWOL silver-spoon SOB. It was pretty easy to see what was happening.

Is it safe to move back home now, or have the developers and the GOP ruined the state beyond redemption?

GA is an utterly hopeless place.

Mensa said...

Keep in mind that it was Jeb Bush who screwed the entire country by cheating in Florida to keep his brother in office. Do not let Jeb ever hold a position of power.

Anonymous said...

I honestly believe that we blessed with Barack Obama, because of what occured in 2000. I wish to thank Alex Penelas more than anyone. His questionable decision to turn his elections department over to out of town thugs was the first step in a series of many that included GubJeb & his sibling W's miscues and ideologic stumbles that brought our country to the emptiness of character that craved for a charismatic young man such as Barack.

We now have a chance with our President to change our own little worlds (i.e. corrupt governments in cities & counties). The task is not easy, but we all must not only critize, we must find a community based agency/non-profit/volunteer group to be a part of. Get up and help develop new talent to lead our community and our local governments.

Defeating a sitting County Commissioner in Miami Dade is nearly impossible, ask the many who tried. But the development of new talent from the grassroots of our community is critical and each of us should help volunteering at something that improves the lives of those among us and support the leaders who can change our community........