Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Resurrecting Tom Joad

When we were young, our parents would tell us stories of heroism and courage. Our teachers would mesmerize us with tales of great heroes, and glorious victory. No child ever really wonders about the truth, so long as the heroes win out the day and defeat the bad guy at the end of the story. Think about all the stories you have ever heard of America's Great Patriots, Soldiers, Presidents, Firefighters and even business tycoons.

I ask you now whether you can still believe in heroes after the past 8 years.

Who does America look to in this election cycle? No incumbent to support, no dashing hero to come save the day. Polls indicate a drastic change in public opinion on the Iraq War as well as a decline in the state of the economy. Are we actually waking up? Or is this just another systemic ideological shift, inherent to the political climate of American style democracy?

Can you feel the change? I sit here now at the same campfire Springsteen built some years ago. We have all been sitting here, slowly stacking the wood and trying our best to find comfort in its heat. Perhaps in the past all we needed was that spectre beside us, just a whisper in the dark from the Ghost of Tom Joad to make us feel better about ourselves; Oh America the Great!

In the past 8 years, however, good ole Tommy Joad was ignored and his spirit left to wither as the campfire died.
8 years gone, but now there is a change in the political landscape. Progressives from the left are itching for a fight, and this election gives us that chance. For all those who do not remember, please watch this clip in its entirety, especially from 2:40 to the end:

'I'll be there in the dark, I'll be everywhere wherever you can look. What do you all say?


  1. Bless you Rb! Some of the most inspiring and instructive words ever committed to paper, then film, and then, of course, the great Woody Guthrie song. From my parents generation to yours - thanks for passing it along and keeping Tom and the Preacher Casey alive and out there!

  2. The country is ready for a massive ideological shift, and one that would mean a real change of direction, not just attempting to undo the last 8 years.

    Plenty of people believe Obama is that hero, and while I understand why they feel that way, personally I'm not so sure. If I had to guess right now, I'd say he'd be more of an effective undo-er (definitely not a word) than a ideological changer, but it's hard to tell at this point.

    Like you said though, progressives are definitely itching for a fight, and how we put that energy into action will determine a lot of the successes and failings of the next election and presidency.