Monday, August 2, 2004

An Echo from the Past

Does this sound vaguely familiar?

It’s brutal, and nauseating, a presidential campaign in the United States. The mud comes up to the chairs. The white beards of the newspapers forget all about the decorum of old age. They dump buckets of mud on all our heads. They knowingly lie and exaggerate. They stab each other in the belly and the back. Any defamation is treated as legitimate. Every blow is good, as long as it staggers the enemy. …

But a wave rose up that no one saw forming on the margins, and no one knows how it came, breaking over the heads of all the ambitious and illustrious politicians of the nation — despite the anger of the members of his own Democratic party, despite time-proven practices and conceits — and landed in the White House a man just a little more than barely known, a tough but humble man, fit for the task of fearlessly and patiently reforming the corrupt government …

That’s a review of the election of 1896 between Grover Cleveland and James G. Blaine. Cleveland won.

The author of this piece? Jose Marti, the hero of Cuban independence. Read the rest in The American Prospect.