Monday, February 4, 2008

I'll Take You There...or Maybe Not

Last night, my sister and I ventured out into a brittle 14 degree (f) below zero, 36 degree below zero windchill, St. Paul night to see our presidential candidate, John Edwards for what has turned out to be one of his last campaign appearances. With the strains of Springsteen's "The Rising" still ringing in my ears, I woke up this morning to NPR on my clock radio informing me that Edwards is bowing out of the race.

I must say that I can't help but feel a little whipsawed here. My progressive candidate, who pumped up an overflow crowd at the Carpenters Union Hall on St. Paul's Eastside last nite, speaking truth to corporate power and vowing to stay in the race to the bitter end, is calling it quits? Say it ain't so.

In reality, Edwards faced an insurmountable challenge. The only candidate who refused to take money from pacs and special interests, could not possibly wage the war of financial attrition with the public warchest when his opponents refused to abide by the public financing limitations. With such an uneven playing field, the candidate who had the superior message, issues and detailed plans on how to address this nation's problems got muscled out by the money of influence and ignored by a press more concerned with the personalities and egos of his bickering opponents.

Perhaps one of this campaign cycles biggest disappointments will be the loss of the Edwards' campaign taste in music. While his Democratic opponents used everything from Canadian Celene Dion to the Uk's Police and Ireland's U2, the Edwards people got revved up on good ol' American music, specifically soul music. Although Edwards was his customary, lawyerly 45 minutes late last night, the crowd, which was bundled up for the frigid artic cold and now getting uncomfortably hot in the packed union hall, was swaying to the beat of Sam and Dave ("Soul Man" and "Hold On I'm Coming"), the Isleys ("Shout"), Ike and Tina Turner ("Ain't No Mountain High Enough") and Mavis Staples' "I'll Take You There". Well, I guess not.

*Originally published 1/30/08 on blogspot Prairie Fire by Plainsense c. 2008

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