Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Obama: The choice of a new generation?

Barack Obama has successfully done what his elders in the civil Rights generation have not been able to accomplish for the last twenty years -he has engaged the youth (the Hip-hop generation, if you will) in a political movement and has them (us) excited about the possibility of changing the nature and direction of American politics. Change (now there's the million dollar word of 2007) has been the rallying cry which has brought together those groups traditionally described as "apathetic" or "politically disengaged" and has worked to mount a movement against what has now been described as the "old guard" of the Democratic Party; The Clinton juggernaut.

This has clearly been a great story for our country -no matter what happens in the primary or the election. Barack has made an irremovable mark on American politics. He has caught us all off guard, but no group has been caught sleepin' on Barack more than some of the "old school" civil rights generationer's who were quick to dismiss Obama's chances of winning and bought in to the "inevitability" narrative pushed by the Clinton machine. I am curious to see what Clinton supporters like Charlie Rangel and John Lewis do when the Obama wave comes to their towns and the pressure begins to build. Do they: A) hold the line for Hillary or B) They do the Democrat shuffle, ditch Hillary, and hop on the Obama bandwagon while seats are still available and there is still time to pander to the youth....My money is on B.

Our generation, the Hip-hop generation (blacks, whites, and brown's alike) has become a respected force over the last few years. Howard Dean's campaign tapped into it in 2004, but Dean lacked Obama's charisma, he wasn't sexy. Obama hasn't side-stepped race but he has moved the conversation forward in a way that is palatable to a broader spectrum of listeners. He is appealing to principles we all want to claim as our own -and it is working, especially with young people.

I think Obama has a chance to restore the credibility of the American. The Civil Rights old better recognize this or they run the risk of looking like they are beholden to the Clinton dynasty -and they will find themselves, once again, out of step with the youth.

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