Saturday, August 30, 2008

Passing the Torch

The conventional wisdom (and I use that term loosely) of the newsies and nosies is that John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for his running mate is a bold, if calculating, one. The obvious play for disaffected Hilary Clinton voters is a bit disconcerting to me, but I guess that is to be expected. I, like the rest of you, know next to nothing about Governor Palin. At first glance she seemingly possesses a natural if not well-tuned political acumen. She would have to be more than the Susie-Homemaker turned political activist as some would portray her. Alaska is a state in name only--it is, in many ways, still a wild frontier with residents who see themselves as frontiersmen. They possess the last remnant of the spirit that animated Americans to cross and subdue our continent and build our world class civilization. It's not a land, nor a people, that follows pandering politicians blindly. Governor Palin has to have some leadership ability to be as effective in that environment as she has been.

From the standpoint of political experience Governor Palin could be Senator Obama's twin. The two of them, along with others like Governor Jindal of Louisiana, represent the coming of age of Generation X--a generation much less self-absorbed than the Baby Boomers who preceded them. This, I think, is important in any discussion of the political future of these re-United States. There is a palpable feeling of torch-passing this season. But, I'm not sure that Gen Xers have the collective wisdom, yet, to keep from burning down the house with jubilant torch-waving. There is something to be said, to be sure, for the energy that this next generation brings to governance. There is also something to be said for the need for a governor on the accelerator as they climb behind the wheel and experiment with the "need for speed." Lucky for us we are living longer--there will always be enough wise heads to provide the balance.

One thing for sure, this election is, and will be, historic.

As much as the political scientist in me is jazzed by this past week's developments, there is another torch-passing I'm more focused on today. Coach Huston Nutt picked up a snuffed-out and trampled torch at Vaught-Hemingway this past spring. Today is the first football game of a new era at Ole Miss. Memphis is in the house, the new jumbo-tron is ready, and I'll be hollerin' hotty totty this evening--hope I'm still hollerin' on the way out of the stadium about 2200.
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