They stood out. The missing things stood out.
Yes, Bill Clinton was impressive. Yes, Barack Obama was eloquent. But Jimmy Carter brought you into his heart, which is the essence of Dr. King’s “Dream Speech.”
Lynda Bird Johnson Rob, the daughter of LBJ, addressed the crowd on the National Mall, speaking with pride about the fierce urgency her father employed to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Let’s tally the numbers: 1 president, 2 ex-presidents, 1 child of a president from a bygone era.
Hmmmm, what’s missing?
Bush Junior didn’t want to put his tired heart, which has never beat for justice, through an occasion calling for excitement. Bush Senior didn’t want to put his tired feet, which have never marched for justice, through an occasion calling for quirky socks.
As for Tricia Nixon Cox, the daughter of Richard Nixon, maybe she didn’t feel comfortable addressing the crowd on the National Mall, speaking with pride about the fierce urgency her father employed to enact the “Southern Strategy.”
President Obama seemed distracted, as he should be. This is a far different situation than when he casually joked at the Press Correspondence Dinner on the night before we took out Osama bin Laden.
But if you think Tomahawk Cruise Missiles will make things better for the people of Syria, then you obviously haven’t lived in a city under attack.
I lived in New York City when we were attacked on 9/11. It was terrible for the working class. It was great for the political class.
They stood bravely on rubble. They spoke bravely through bullhorns. They pierced lapels with newly minted flag pins.
Now is the moment, this is the time time. Ignore Assad. Ignore Putin.
Now is the moment, this is the time. Engage by non-engagement.
Now is the moment, this is the time. They want a fight. They expect a fight.