Look, let me say at the outset that in spite of my consternation at his fairly inexplicable appointment to the Plan Commission, I have nothing against former alderman Pete Kosovich. I am, to be sure, disturbed with his affiliation with the dubious Franklin Citizens for Responsible Government (FCRG), but, not having met him, he seems from a distance to be a nice enough guy even if we don't agree on many issues.
Kosovich is becoming quite the flier distributor, however, perhaps a holdover talent from his FCRG days. After undertaking a smear-campaign-via-flier on behalf of Mayor Tom Taylor during the latest campaign (during which he lost his seat to Steve Taylor), he's gotten back into Kinkos with this helpful little leaflet that I found in my newspaper tube this morning (click for larger version):
One has to admire Kosovich's noble-yet-ambitious sense of purpose: "If leafletting for the Mayor gets me a consolation seat on the city of Franklin's Plan Commission, doing the same for a potential President could get me a cabinet post or ambassadorship!"
For your sense of enterprise, Mr. Kosovich, I salute you.
However, as a propagandist, you're all thumbs. "Q7" is about as persuasively stealthy as John Madden in a Ninja suit (are your capitalizations of "Racist" and "Banks" some manner of honorific, by the way?)
In a Presidential race marked by soaring rhetoric and an unprecedented sense of positive energy and purpose on Obama's side and ugly, blatant appeals to greed, hatred, and fear on the other (four McCain robo-calls came to my house yesterday, each of them might as well have featured the theme from "Psycho" in the background), a desperate flier like this simply reinforces my fervent hope that we learn tonight that Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States.
In every election I've participated in, I've simply voted against the other guy. It was always clear to me who I didn't want elected, but I was not necessarily inspired by the alternative. I pulled the lever for Kerry, Gore, Clinton and Mondale, but in all cases I was more concerned with getting rid of a Bush or Reagan (can you imagine going "woo-hoo" as you pull the lever for Walter Mondale?).
The night Clinton won, I was at a Bruce Springsteen concert in Milwaukee. Springsteen opened the show by saying, "I hope you understand the significance of what happened tonight." I didn't, except that I'd finally voted on the winning side. It wasn't until another Bush entered the picture eight years later that I understood just how bad things can and will get under an administration that believes Democracy is for sale at all levels.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a huge mess to clean up. The profiteers have vandalized our government at the highest levels, and it's time for a clean sweep.
We are mired in a war based on lies; we lose more brave soldiers every day, duty-bound to a feckless administration.
We are in an economic crisis resultant of bipartisan ineptitude compounded by the Republican deregulation festival; capitalist warriors who fed at the trough and warned of "socialist regulations" are now swimming in government handouts and aid - - summer homes intact.
Our detached leadership - - and those who would seek to replace them with more of the same - - are aggressively encouraging the politics of self-interest and greed; outright lies become talking points, and community activism is mocked.
Squawk radio talkers trumpet about flag lapel buttons and hiss Obama's middle name; beware the "otherness" of this man!
Meanwhile, Barack Obama appeals again and again to the best in us. He knows that bolstering the middle class rather than rewarding rich benefactors is what grows the economy and ultimately feeds businesses large and small. He understands that health care is a right in a civilized society, not a privilege for the well-born. He rejects belligerence in foreign policy and instead proposes positive-but-forceful engagement. He is not so far removed from the days of paying bills at the dining room table that he can't understand the struggles of America's shrinking middle class.
He knows that we live in a country and system that makes success-by-sweat possible, and it should be our pleasure to give back our share when we attain the sort of financial security that the American way of life affords. That way of life is subsidized by each and every citizen; to derisively refer to progressive taxes as "wealth redistribution" or "socialism" simply spits in the face of all who came before and laid the foundation for the American Dream. This is a concept difficult to grasp when you're born on third base and believe you've hit a triple; not so hard when you've started at the bottom and worked your way upward. You see a lot during that climb.
I believe Barack Obama's message is one of unification and action in a time when we desperately need to pull together and get up off our asses. Even if you entertain the notion that he is not yet "seasoned" enough, you cannot deny that he has an almost unprecidented ability to mobilize enormous masses of people who are equipped to enact POSITIVE CHANGE right here and right now. People are energized, and, if Obama wins, we'll see a whole new wave of public service.
So it is ironic that Mr. Kosovich should be the inspiration for this election day screed, which will end with this public announcement: I intend to vie for the newly vacant seat on Franklin's Plan Commission - - my "up off my ass" initiative, so to speak, regardless of today's election result. If I fail to be seated on the commission, I'll fail in public; my application is in (I'll post it later this week), and I have the support of two aldermen. The rest is up to the mayor - - who asked me point blank a few months back which commission I'd like to serve on - - and the common council.
There are aldermen who have waited for some time to show me the back of their hand after having been criticized in this blog; this may well be their chance. If I am seated on the commission, the time commitment will be daunting in light of my work and family situation; those excuses kept me on the sidelines for years.
There are, in fact, lots of reasons to stay on the sidelines. Nonetheless, I am inspired by the example of Barack Obama to get in the ring and use my talents and ideas to help my community in a direct manner. A more effective agent of change.
And there are "mere words," spoken by Obama at the close of the Democratic National Convention:
This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not
what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but
that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are
the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to
Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and color, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.
"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."
America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.
I fervently hope we wake up tomorrow in a country, newly energized by the impending presidency of Barack Obama.
And thanks for the leaflet, Mr. Kosovich. I am further vindicated by the dark, fearful place from which it emerged.