by C. A. Jude Stewart
Had the good fortune two weeks ago, to witness history (political and musical) at the Apollo Theatre during a splendid visit back home to NYC & my beloved Hudson River Valley-West Point region (a/k/a, the American Rhine).
Everybody knows (or at least heard of) the Apollo, named after the Greek god of prophecy, intellectual pursuits, the plague, healing and/or the sun. Apollo’s 1/2-brother is Dionysus, the Greek god of win, hedonism & sexual excess. Two ‘brothers’ could never have been more different, in mythology or genetics.
Harlem’s historic Apollo Theatre is 4 1/2-blocks west of the old elevated tracks of the NY Central-New Haven (now Metro-North) Railroads, a cultural gathering spot @ 253. W. 125th Street, between 7th Avenue (Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard) & 8th Avenue (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard).
President Obama was in town for an Apollo fundraiser, which I managed to attend without cashing in what’s left of my puny, eviscerated Fidelity Investment retirement funds.
When Obama-Rama vocally busted out a few lines of Reverend Al Green’s January, 1972 classic “Let’s Stay Together” while at the podium on that remarkable musical stage, the crowd (as they say, & not just the panty-tossin’ ladies) went wild.
It takes a certain kinda grace to pull off that move. Our President did it with such ease, panache & inimitable grace, that I hoped in a fantastic sorta way that Reverend Al (who was in the audience) had bolted back on-stage, joining da Prez in a musical duet for the ages. Alas, it was not to be.
I reflected fondly on Barack’s Sada-esque “Smooth Operator” moment in presidential politics, while attending both Romney & Gingrich’s electrifyingly dull whistle-stops in Pensacola this past week: Mitt’s breakfast gathering at The Fish House in downtown Pensacola last saturday (1/28) morning, followed by Newter’s “Fat Man-Bustin’-Out-in-a-Too-Tight-Suit” NAS dance-a-thon on Monday (1/30).
The tendentiousness, insipid, robotic & obsequious pandering-to-the-slobbering-mob mentality of both Republican candidates was in stark contrast to the positive, stirring, delightful qualities manifested by Obama & his supporters.
If politics essentially is about the manifestation, accumulation & dispensation of power among competing forces, entities & people, Barack Obama will surely win a 2nd-term as president come Tuesday, November 6, 2012—no matter WHO the Republican candidate is.
If the USA is to move forward, & stay together as the soulful Rev. Al entreats us all to do for the country’s good, then Barack hit the high notes at all the right places, while the tone-deaf Republicans clamor tunelessly to win the hearts, minds & musical souls of the American body politic.