Friday, October 31, 2008

From Goldwater to Freakwater*

Peggy Noonan:

Obama and the Runaway Train
The race, the case, a hope for grace.

The case for Barack Obama, in broad strokes:

He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing; his rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking; his victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief. He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections. He rose with guts and gifts. He is steady, calm, and, in terms of the execution of his political ascent, still the primary and almost only area in which his executive abilities can be discerned, he shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make. We witnessed from him this year something unique in American politics: He took down a political machine without raising his voice.

[blah blah blah]

But let's be frank. Something new is happening in America. It is the imminent arrival of a new liberal moment. History happens, it makes its turns, you hold on for dear life. Life moves.[...]

Eras end, and begin. "God is in charge of history." And so my beautiful election ends.

Woody Guthrie:
Little Black Train

There's a little black train a-comin'
Better set your business right
There's a little black train a-comin'
And it may be here tonight

Go tell that ballroom lady
All dressed in the worldly pride
That death's dark train is coming
Prepare to take a ride
God sent to Hezekiah
A message from on high
You better set your house in order
For you must surely die

He turned to the wall in weeping
We see and hear his tears
He got his business fixed all right
God spared him fifteen years

We see that train with engine
And one small baggage car
Your idle thoughts and wicked deeds
Will stop at the judgment bar

That poor young man in darkness
Cares not for the gospel light
Til suddenly he hears the whistle blow
And the little black train in sight

Have mercy on me Lord
Please come and set me right
Before he got his business fixed
The train rolled in that night
Sing, it G.O.P.!

*Freakwater is a band that covers this Guthrie song as well as it can be done.