Camelot RevisitedApril 1, 2008 By: Marianne Dougherty American Salon
For the past 40 years, Democrats have been waiting for a presidential hopeful capable of inspiring Americans in the way that John F. Kennedy did. Now there's talk that Barack Obama may be that candidate. First of all, there was Caroline Kennedy's endorsement. "Over the years I've been deeply moved by people who've told me they wished they could feel hopeful and inspired about America the way people did when my father was president," she said, when endorsing Obama. "This sense is even more profound today." The similarities don't end there. Obama is 47 years old; JFK was 46 when he became president. JFK brought two small children into the White House with him; Obama would do the same.
Still, am I the only one who's noticed how alike Michelle Obama and Jackie Kennedy are? Both went to Ivy League schools—Jackie to Vassar, Michelle to Princeton and Harvard. Michelle favors pearls just like Jackie did. Now look at Michelle's hairstyle. It's almost identical to Jackie's bouffant. The look was smart, sophisticated and put together in 1960, and it still sends the same message today. Maybe I'm just nostalgic for Camelot, but there you have it. I was 13 years old when JFK was sworn in as president, and I can still remember the sense of inclusion I felt when, in his inaugural address, he admonished us, "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." It was a novel idea, but, then, so was the Peace Corps.
Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama sport similar hairstyles.
When this issue went to press, Obama was ahead in the polls, but a few of the big states—Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania—still hadn't voted. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. As for me, I'm just happy to see voters actually turning out in droves for once. It's always been my contention that if you don't vote, you don't have any right to complain. If nothing else, this election is important because, for the first time, we are that close to having a woman or an African-American in the White House. Either way, I'd say we'll be ahead of the game. —Marianne Dougherty, editor in chief, email@example.com.