Butch, Barack And Bob’s Benefit Bash

January 21, 2009

So, it’s official. There’s a new point guard running the show – although, from what I’ve read, the president must have been a shooting guard – possibly a chucker :-).

During the primaries last spring (and early summer) and into the general election, I read and listened to endless commentary regarding Barack Obama and the parsing of his qualification to be president. The focus was often on what he had or, as his detractors pointed out, what he hadn’t accomplished during his brief time as a U.S. senator.

And through it all, his appeal was quite simple to me. I kept hearing an exchange of dialogue from the movie Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.

While The Kid was the steely-nerved gunslinger, Butch was the brains behind the partnership. After laying out one of his schemes, Butch is told by Sundance to “just keep thinkin’ Butch. That’s what you’re good at.”

To which Butch replies, nonchalantly, “I have vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”

From the moment I saw him speak at the Democratic convention in 2004, Barack Obama struck me as someone who has vision.

And watching the mass of diverse people gathered to witness his inauguration today, I thought of Live Aid, and remembered Joan Baez greeting the globe that day as she opened the American portion of the show.

“Good morning, children of the 80s. This is your Woodstock, and it’s long overdue.”

As a child of the ‘80s, I remember a brief moment when we still had enough innocence to believe that we could save a continent simply with the help of some musicians we loved.

Has such a large portion of the humans come together to try and fix something since that July day in 1985?

And as I read online accounts of reactions from people around the world, from Kenya to Japan to Colombia and Indonesia, there was a lot of use of a word which has almost become pejorative when used by the naysayers to Obama.


And I had to remind myself that, in the words Andy Dufresne wrote to Red in the movie The Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing.”

I have no idea if Obama can accomplish the lofty things he has proposed, but it does seem as though he has brought together a sizable amount of the humans, curious enough to believe.

And for however long that lasts, it is kind of cool.

Peter Gabriel – Of These, Hope

Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes

Toni Childs – House Of Hope

Spirits – Hope