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San Francisco 2008 Gay Pride Parade.

Under here.

August 29, 2008

Let Us Hope
Friday. Temperatures are supposed to drop tomorrow some twenty degrees from the high eighties here in Oakland to the high sixties. It is August and you expect days like these in August (eighty here seems to translate to well over a hundred in, say, Sacramento), but you wonder if this is going to be the scheme of things for the future. The weather in the Bay Area, where I've lived for these last forty years, has never been consistent: years of drought followed by years of rain and everything in between. You want to assign some of this heat to global warming, but global warming is a trend and has less to do with any given week's weather than you'd believe. At least that's what they say, the bastards, liars as they are.

Up much too early this morning, to breakfast early, now back and it's only seven-thirty. I don't feel like taking a nap, but I seem to have nights when I sleep like a top for hours and hours and then a night like last night when I thought I got little sleep, wake up early and then stay wide awake all the day long. Hell of a learning curve, getting old.

I hope you're kidding, what with you entering your late sixties now where the real excitement starts. Aches and pains in the mornings indeed.

I'm still running on seventeen waiting for the train to leave the station, bags packed, ticket in hand. Or something like that.

Later. I've gotten the walking in, sweaty t-shirt and all, heading downtown to pick up a September bus pass and a ten trip ticket so I can photograph Art & Soul coming up in Oakland this weekend.

Jon Carroll had an interesting comment in his column this morning suggesting the Oakland streets and restaurants were empty last night because here in Oakland the Democratic convention was the equivalent of the Super Bowl. I suspect that's true. Walking downtown earlier I found the front page of today's Oakland Tribune with its banner Obama nominated headline taped inside many of the store windows along Broadway.

I'd say for the African American experience, last night was a miracle, except I won't. It was a miracle for the nation, for all of us, an unexpected proof of something most considered to be functionally impossible. I certainly remember the sixties, the marches, Lyndon Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act knowing he was losing the south to the Republicans for what he thought would be generations. It was only then I learned something more of the history of segregation in the country (having grown up in the 50's in what were essentially segregated suburbs, as most suburbs are indeed segregated at least by income today), learning the last in a long line of milestone battles won earlier in the century had been the elimination of widespread lynching in the south.

Lynchings? I first read about their extent in Paul Krassner's Realist magazine while I was in college. True, I grew up north of Seattle in Washington state and then in comfortably suburban New York pretty far from a black neighborhood let alone “the south”, but still. Lynching? By the hundreds? Nobody talked about it. Did I live in a white culture that didn't make racist remarks because there weren't any black people around to make racist remarks about until high school? All of maybe twenty African American students in a high school population of over a thousand?

It was indeed the Super Bowl last night in Oakland, but also for the entire country, a passage of some kind that was in some sense completed, yes, but with none of us quite knowing yet how perilous the journey to come. They say the younger generations have worked this crap out. Let us hope.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2008 Gay Pride Parade with a Nikon D2Xs mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at 1/200th second, f 2.8, ISO 100.