The crossroads is a venerable metaphor in American song and poetry. Robert Johnson devoted a seminal blues song to it in “Crossroads Blues” and Robert Frost provided an ironic take on it in “The Road Not Taken.”
Yesterday Barack Obama concluded his swing through red states in Montana. The New York Times reports that, speaking at a picnic outside the World Museum of Mining in Butte, Obama declared that the nation had “hit a crossroads and we’ve got to make a fast turn.”
Times reporter Jeff Zeleny explains that Obama was urging voters at an Independence Day celebration to support his candidacy if they wanted to end the war in Iraq. The key to decisions at the crossroads, however, is not the speed of the turn. At the crossroads we can turn in either direction with equal speed. Deliberation is of the essence because we seek to make a wise choice.
JOHN adds: Speaking of the Fourth of July in Butte, I liked this photo of Barack Obama downing a hot dog while Michelle looks on in what appears to be a combination of amusement and horror. The picture strikes me as emblematic of the moment, as Obama’s supporters are coming to understand that he is a lot closer to Tip O’Neill than Ralph Nader. And, to add one more metaphor to the mix, Obama is sending strong signals that he has no intention of dancing with the ones who brought him.
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