By Margaret Randall
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Additional info for First Laugh: Essays, 2000-2009
Press 1 if . . press 2 if . ” Oblivious to my frustration, the fact that mine is not a yes or no question. Multiple choice doesn’t cut it. What passes for progress. Although we span a considerable age difference, memory and its rough terrain are areas Barbara and I inhabit together. Anguish and understanding: a balance sought. I remember a time a while back when she was visibly frightened that I was stumbling toward the downward spiral; I must have done or failed to do, said or failed to say, something important.
These figures were achieved first of all because Obama addressed real issues with thoughtful analysis. And secondly because the Obama organization on the ground worked so hard to increase voter registration and participation at the polls; in other words, it enfranchised millions of Americans by making them believe their opinions can count. Among African Americans the 11 percent who voted in 2004 rose to 13 percent in 2008. For Latinos the increase was from 8 to 9 percent. For the Indian vote I have only found statistics by tribe; most of these favored the Democrats by very wide margins.
These days ever younger people show symptoms of overload. But on the downhill edge of life it feels unidirectional. In contrast, perhaps even in direct relationship, age has brought me a new awareness. Unexpected but unmistakable: as memory ruptures along my particular fault lines, difficult to claim. It is as if the last few elusive pieces have fallen into place. I hold the larger picture in slightly trembling hands. Despite a gnawing discomfort around Volkswagen’s relationship with the Third Reich, I, like so many of my generation, drove my share of Beetles.