Bob Franken

“Power Concedes Nothing”

It is hard to know which was more moving: Was it the crowds erupting after the results were known, people of all colors, hugging in mutual congratulation? Perhaps it was the close-ups of the older black faces, with tears of disbelief streaming, as they witnessed a young African-American family realize a possibility that most didn’t even bother to dream.

Equally memorable were the long, long lines at the polling places, as citizens patiently insisted with their votes that we couldn’t go on the way we have been.

It was a celebration of our country’s best instincts, a release of its worst frustrations, a demand to do better.

But now the cautionary note, quoting none other than Barack Obama: Two days before the election, warning against overconfidence, Obama said “Power concedes nothing…we are going to have to struggle”.

The context is different but post-election, the words are even more true: “Power concedes nothing”.

We cannot believe for one instant that those entrenched in privilege will be willing to give up their advantages without a ferocious fight.

Their control is derived from their riches. The laws have been crafted to favor them. The political system is still greased by their wealth. They have the wherewithal to manipulate public opinion through advertising and obfuscation, spending millions to keep their billions.

John McCain was right. The changes we demanded will require, to some degree, that we “spread the wealth”. How else can we close the gap between those with too little and those hoarding too much.

Get ready for the screams of “socialism”. That touches a nerve in the US of A, but it’s a distortion. What we’re really talking about here is the American Dream.

Remember that one, the idea that corruption will be prevented by regulating commerce so hard work and fair play could be rewarded?

What we’ve just witnessed is a belief in our potential. But let’s not get carried away. It would be wonderful to discover that the “haves” would voluntarily share with the “have nots”. But it ain’t gonna happen. To return to Barack Obama’s quote “We are going to have to struggle”

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