As happens occasionally with me, I will take off my hat as candidate and speak as an observer of the political process.
Though what I am about to say applies to the 8th Congressional District, it applies just as equally across North Carolina.
This election cycle has the most fervent, most passionate political activists in 40 years.
Perhaps it is mere coincidence that 40 years matches the time period oft-relied upon in the Bible to signify “a long time,” but I respectfully contend that America – including North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District – has returned from a 40-year hiatus in the political desert.
And this political passion is not all among Democrats.
Yes, the vast majority of the fervor has been due to the historic candidacies of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Yes, that energy is also due in great part to the almost universal animus toward the presidency of George W. Bush and his failed policies from stem to stern.
But the group of politically passionate persons also includes a personally surprising legion of folks committed to the campaign of Republican Ron Paul for President.
On that latter point: Even though there is a greater chance of Donald Trump getting a crew cut than Ron Paul being elected President, I witnessed a rather remarkable showing of support for the Republican Congressman and former Libertarian Party standard-bearer from the 1980s. Traveling the State I saw Ron Paul signs pop up like dandelions across the yards and highway medians of North Carolina. I personally witnessed previously-nonpolitical folks holding placards as persons visited their post offices and grocery stores. I saw Paul signs show up in the darndest places, almost as if campaign elves had dropped the signs and literature in the most obscure places. We all saw at one time or another the banners or graffiti which magically appeared on overpasses and bridges, extolling the Paul candidacy. And who could forget the creative use of the signs about a “Ron Paul Revolution” but which had the “evol” part appearing backwards so the operative word for passersby was “LOVE”?
Regardless, Ron Paul will not now nor will he ever be President of the United States.
Yet he somehow spawned a host of fans. And they were everywhere. (And apparently still are, by virtue of the renewed presence of his supporters’ work across North Carolina months after Paul had any statistical chance of winning even one GOP delegate in the State.)
Barack Obama, on the other hand, has regularly attracted amazing crowds of 25,000 to 70,000 people to campaign rallies and events. When one realizes that he magnetically attracts more people at one place than many major league baseball parks have in any given ballgame, it goes to show that there is something special going on.
When one also analyzes the numbers objectively – the massive increase in voter registration and voter turnout, especially among Democrats and Unaffiiateds who support the Democratic Party’s focus on “change” – it is clear that something special is going on.
With 1968 as a backdrop, it is truly exciting to be part of this historic moment – to be part of that “something special” that is going on.
Perhaps we Americans can now look forward to reaching the political Promised Land of our forefathers, one where a vibrant body politick exercises by word, deed, and ballot what “The People” want and need in our government … choosing the “better angels of our nature” to guide us, and not prejudices and nearsightedness.
Let’s hope that voters make the right choices in November so we won’t find ourselves in the political desert again in my lifetime. Forty years is a long time between political movements.