Monday, August 25, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Monday, August 25th.
The Democratic National Convention opens today in Denver. And in addition to getting a prominent speaking role and a formal delegate count, Hillary Clinton will now have her own organizers on the floor to QUOTE "make sure delegates have everything they need."
Currently, You know, the basics ... brass knuckles, sharpened screwdrivers, rolls of dimes ... that kinda stuff.
This is The Current.
Rootlesness and American Politics
This week Michelle Obama stood in front of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado and tried to distill her husband's life-story into a manageable narrative.
In the past, many would-be Presidents have defined themselves by their roots. John F. Kennedy really couldn't have come from anywhere other than Boston. Ronald Reagan epitomized the western cowboy. Even Barak Obama's choice for running mate, Senator Joe Biden, is firmly asconded in his northeastern background. But for Barack Obama, finding that defining sense of place is going to be a challenge.
His father is from Kenya. His mother, from Kansas. He spent his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia. And he is a Senator from Illinois, who often refers to Chicago's South Side as his home base. For some, his scattered, multilayered roots are part of his appeal. For others -- even some faithful Democratic convention-goers -- his synthetic identity just makes him hard to place.
Of course Barack Obama isn't the only politician with a complicated sense of place. Presumed Republican candidate, John McCain was born in the Panama Canal zone and -- as the son of a Navy officer -- attended 20 different schools and grew up all over the world. Bill Kauffman thinks the sense of rootlessness found in both presumed Presidential candidates could have a significant effect on how each of them would govern. He's the author of Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism and Middle American Anti-Imperialism and he joined us from Buffalo, New York.
A second guest invited into the conversation was Kathleen Hall Jamieson. She is the Director of the Annenberg Public Policy Centre, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Listen to Part One:
The Last Plantation
For more than a decade, thousands of African-American farmers have been fighting for compensation from their government. They say that back in the 1980s, they were unfairly denied federal government loans ... even as many of their white neighbours were getting them. It's one of the biggest civil rights cases in American history. And it's not over yet. Freelance producer Sarah Richards prepared a documentary about their story. It's called The Last Plantation and it first aired on The Current in May.
Listen to Part Two: