John Edwards has ended his presidential run.
I would like to jump straight to the final of Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief, “acceptance,” but it’s probably unhealthy to skip right over the other stages, so please bear with me as I race through:
- Denial. Edwards has obviously made a deal with one or both remaining Democrats to be the VP nominee, so at least some of his agenda still has a chance of moving the country forward.
- Anger. Welcome to America, here’s your shit sandwich. Enjoy your next media-conglomerate-approved president, be it the warmonger, the religious nut, the focus-tested corporatist machine politician, or the kumbaya guy who talks a great game but has yet to exhibit a single actual act of courage.
- Bargaining. Edwards supporters, let’s band together and make Obama promise to adopt some of John’s most important policies before we throw our support to him!
- Depression. Only Edwards’ plans were bold enough to fix America’s problems in less than a generation. Now it’s going to take a lifetime — my kids’ lifetime! — of excessively cautious half-measures to straighten out Bush’s mess.
There, OK. Now I can do acceptance.
In truth, either Obama or Clinton could get the job done, but as I’ve written before (and as others have written, and I’ve highlighted): it’s not just the person, it’s the narrative. America urgently needs to turn the page on its recent past and make a fresh start. Hillary may have the best intentions, but rightly or wrongly she’s still an indelible symbolic link to the past. Only Obama represents real change, and the world needs to see real change in America.
On the bright side: even if nothing else progressive happens in the next administration, we still have the fact that the handsome, rich white guy couldn’t compete with a black guy and a woman. We’ve come a long way, baby.