"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST: Some will probably be wondering why I’m still writing about the election. It’s a fair question so I’ll give you the numbers up front: Barack Obama received 88.2 percent of the presidential vote in the Bronx. Derek Jeter would have received 100 percent if he was on the ballot. You can finish the math after the story.

A young girl leaned comfortably against her mother on the 2 train this morning. They shared a newspaper and kept smiling at each other.

“It’s good news,” the mother said. “All the news is going to be good from now on.”

Fingers were crossed behind her back because the mother knows that the news is never all good. But nothing was going to ruin this – the first Saturday morning after Barack Obama won the country and inspired world – for her daughter.

“She’s always been more into Derek Jeter,” the mother said. “She watches all the games with her father, but she started following the presidential race with me after the baseball season ended.”

“I love Derek the most,” the little girl said, “but I like Obama a lot.”

The mother beamed.

“She even helped me vote. We pulled the lever together didn’t we, honey?”

“Yeah,” the little girl answered. “We did it together because I’m too young to vote.”

She’ll still be too young in four years, but the quality of the rest of her life depends on Obama’s ability to deliver.

“He’s going to make everything better for all of us,” the little girl said. “It’s like when Derek comes up and you just know he’s going to get a big hit.”

That kind of hope can lead to just about anything.

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1 kylepetterson   ~  Nov 8, 2008 10:47 am

"That kind of hope can lead to just about anything."

No offense to President-elect Obama, but that kind of hope will most likely lead to disappointment.

2 RIYank   ~  Nov 8, 2008 11:05 am

But, kylep, the comparison may be unfortunately apt. The current economy has one hell of a fastball, and I do think the rookie's chances of satisfying the expectations are low.

3 Todd Drew   ~  Nov 8, 2008 11:12 am

Some people might agree with you today. More might end up agreeing with you in a year or four years. Or maybe not. I think where hope leads depends on your point of view. For a lot of people that view is pointing up right now. For a little girl and her mother on the 2 train it was pointing way up. That’s good enough for me today.

4 aschulme   ~  Nov 8, 2008 12:05 pm

The whole thing has this Stalin 1936 feel to it doesn't it? A cult of personality is never a good thing.

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 8, 2008 12:58 pm

No it doesn't, but the comparison of the two mixed-race superstars is a good one, and I think Kyle's on the right track. Jeter will be a deserving first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he's generally regarded (not inaccurately) as overrated and is largely despised by those who root for his rivals. I think the same thing can be said about Obama. Hope is a good thing for sure, and I have no desire to quash anyone's hope, as I believe that the feelings Obama inspires could result in a surge in citizen participation, which would benefit the country tremendously, but high expectations almost always lead to disappointment. When the Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez, I attempted to temper expectations in this space for that very reason. In his four years as a Yankee, Rodriguez has picked up a pair of MVP awards, but he's still seen as a disappointment by the majority of Yankee fans. High expectations are a bitch. Though they are initially an expression of faith and admiration, they ultimately do their object a disservice. Beyond getting involved, the greatest service we could do for our incoming president would be to temper those expectations and realize, as he said in his acceptance speech, that the change he has promised will take time. The country's problems run deep, and though I think Obama's the right man to fix them, it will be a long process.

6 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 8, 2008 1:00 pm

Frankly, it's hard to believe things are this bad. Hard to believe this great country could be this bad off. Obama ain't a miracle worker, but his intentions seem good and he seems to have identified many key issues.

I was studying architecture, and specifically Passive Solar Design, when Carter was President. During the FIRST energy crisis, gas tripled in price, from $0.33 to $1.00. Carter declared the need to solve the energy crisis as the "moral equililant of war". He instituted a 40% rebate (NOT tax credit, REBATE) on any alternative energy products bought. Passive solar, wind and many other options were being explored. Small companies were starting up. People took it seriously. The technology was primative at that time, but it was an exciting time and we were finally headed in the right direction.

Then Regan came into office, and in one fell swoop, eliminated EVERY incentive, and the alternative energy movement was instantaneously dead.

That was almost 30 years ago.
Imagine where we would be now, if that movement had continued, and we now had 30 years of R&D invested.
The world would be totally, totally different.

Everything hindges on Energy... our defense, as well as the world economy. Breaking the deathgrip Big Oil has on our country will be a daunting task. Our country will never return to real affluence, and will cease to be the world leader, unless we control this Wave's energy technology.

As an outsider and 'common man', Obama may have as good a shot as anyone of tackling this most important task.

7 monkeypants   ~  Nov 8, 2008 1:13 pm

Group think and cult of personality, on the right or on the left, pretty much turns me off. I can't wait for baseball news.

8 thelarmis   ~  Nov 8, 2008 1:25 pm

i don't know much about politics, but John Popper had a great line about hope from the first Blues Traveler record:

"Hope can always go up, tears can only come down..."

9 Todd Drew   ~  Nov 8, 2008 5:24 pm

I’m glad people were able to get so much out of this story. I just want to say that if you are able to talk about disappointment ahead of hope then you have probably experienced hope before. That’s great, but not everyone has. Having hope doesn’t mean anyone thinks this is going to be easy. It just means that someone – and maybe it’s just one little girl in the Bronx – thinks it’s possible.

10 Todd Drew   ~  Nov 8, 2008 5:25 pm

How was the visit with your grandfather today?

11 thelarmis   ~  Nov 9, 2008 12:45 am

[10] hey todd, thanks so much for checkin' in! i just got online and was headed to your last thread to comment; i hit this one first, by accident, and here you are!

it was a pretty good visit. he really wasn't himself yesterday or today. by the time my mom and left this evening, he was coming around. hopefully tomorrow will be better. we really wanna bring him home. i sure hope he's here by Turkey Day...

he listened to 4 of my pieces - 3 Classical and 1 big drum feature. he listened intently and threw around words like, "professional" and "impressive." my favorite though, was he said he was proud of me. really, that's all i ever have strived to do - make my family proud of me. i shared with him a secret about my grandma that will be a tribute on my record. it was sad doing it, 'coz the only reason i told him is in case he's not around when my cd finally is finished...

i can't wait to see him tomorrow! and the next day. and then next weekend. and then at my house at thanksgiving...

12 Todd Drew   ~  Nov 9, 2008 7:05 am

Thanks for sharing about your visit. I’m sure your grandfather will be home for Thanksgiving. I’m also sure he is always proud of you. I can’t wait to hear your CD.

13 SteveAmerica   ~  Nov 10, 2008 1:58 pm

Obama is going to plant trees that grow money and gumdrops. And then he's gonna invent a car that runs on gumdrops. And ever single person in America is going to be the CEO of their own company that does whatever it wants and they're gonna be rich, but not too rich. And consumerism will be rendered obsolete, yet people will have all the money and services they could ever want.

I think Obama was the right choice for president, but the histrionics surrounding his election are downright absurd. And I think he's dangerously close to selling an ideal that is untenable.

14 Joe L.   ~  Nov 10, 2008 5:17 pm

So one is allowed to have an opinion or display any emotion until SteveAmerica Ok’s it? Otherwise he will mock you. Thanks SteveAmerica, but I think as an American I can decide what I think and how I feel.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver