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© 2008 by H.B. Koplowitz

Dear Mom and Dad,

I really wouldn't vote for Hitler, as you suggested, when I suggested you cut Barack Obama some slack for the comments his pastor made, and for Obama's subsequent speech on race.

I was surprised by your Hitler remark, and at first attributed it to too much watching of Fox News from your retirement condo in Boca. I mean, ever since Mom accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan, helping Bush steal the election, and Bush invaded Iraq and he and the Republicans did a lot of other crazy stuff, you have both been saying there was no way you could vote for a Republican this time around.

Then, Obama's pastor says "God damn America," and you say if Obama is the Democratic nominee, you'll vote for Republican John McCain. This really scared me, because I consider you typical ... average ... normal ... regular ... how about "representative" of white, middle class America, which means millions more white, middle class Americans probably feel the same. Wha' happened? And then it hit me. I remember those vibes. You're having a '60s flashback.

This isn't about race, it's about respect -- what you and this country didn't get much of when I was one of those long-haired, dope-addled, anti-establishment, draft-dodging, peace-love hippies. You think Obama is a hippie because he wouldn't disown the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who said God damn America, and he called his grandma typical. Or something like that.

It's OK. Just as Obama talked about how he has come to accept both his pastor, who comes from a generation of angry black men, and angry white men who feel cheated by affirmative action, I have come to accept -- and respect -- a generation of angry parents who felt their children were damaged by drugs, cults and anti-American ideology.

Even though you eventually came to agree with me that maybe Vietnam wasn't such a good idea, just as I eventually came to agree with you that some of the hippie-dippy-psychedelic-free-love-revolution-for-the-hell-of-it may have been a little over the top, I know you grew up during World War II, and that it's hard for you to view America as an oppressor of anyone. You also grew up during the Holocaust and can remember the birth of Israel, and it didn't help that the Rev. Wright said some less than sympathetic things about the Jewish state, and sympathizes with the Palestinians as an oppressed people.

But here's the thing. Barack Obama isn't an angry black man. He's not an anti-Semite and he's not a hippie. He's not a part of your generation and he's not a part of mine, and he comes with neither generation's baggage. Rather, he is what America is becoming, which is, in a name, Tiger Woods. The Tiger Woods of politics. He's the natural progression of integration, immigration, and assimilation, which is miscegenation. Halfrican, whiteno, amerasian and blackspanic, we don't even have official words yet for what America is becoming, but it's coming. As one of your least favorite folksingers used to say, the times they are a changin'.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Obama may not be one of us, but he's not one of them, either. Obama and Clinton agree on most of the issues, and one thing you and I can agree on is that either would be a change from Bush and the Republicans, while McCain, not so much. I hope you can forgive Obama for some of the company he has kept, just as you forgave me.