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
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
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
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.