Tuesday, May 20, 2008

¿The State of My Soul?

I was going through the poems on my hard drive and came across this one. Thought I'd share.

The image

State of My Soul Address

I find myself
thinking
as I walk
back and forth
and back to work
spying the smack
addicts drooping
on the bus stops
the dried shit dripped
to piles in alcoves
long abandoned
the 30something
black medusa
schizo woman
shouting obscenities
& tossing her fists
at the sky as if the sun
itself had cursed her

I find myself
wondering as I weave
within and without
construction zones
scheduled for so-called
urban renewal—brand new
bricks stacked & set
to re-cover the sidewalks
currently coated by crack
vials & used syringes
I think & wonder
& ask myself
can you revitalize
the neighborhood
without revitalizing
the neighbors?

How do we unite
states hell bent
on long destruction
and self division?

Are there enough
shoulders to carry
the weight of this
world?

and how do we find
enough shoulders
if we only ever
preach to our own
choirs?

My soul is sick
with these questions
and the realization
that souls sicker than mine
continue to spread
CONTAGION

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Exploding Judases in San Miguel

Executing Traitors

Easter Sunday—San Miguel morning
watching locals exploding Judases
near the square. The air is thick
with brimstone & black
powder, and the joyous shouts
of children as the newest Judas
detonates. The children run about
in squealing glee, snatching limbs
from the sky—the biggest purse
the traitor's head, of course.

A young brown boy glows
as the gueros encourage him to pose
for them—head held aloft
or playfully placed
in front of his own face—
as if he understands that we
are all capable of betrayal.

& then the whizzing
starts anew, and attention
shifts to the newest Judas
spinning for his sins—ready
to be obliterated in all his
papier-mâché guts
& ingloriousness.


video

Friday, May 16, 2008

¡The Word Pimp Reads @ Barnes & Noble!

If you're going to be in Baltimore tomorrow, come out and watch me read an exerpt from my novel, Forever, Lilith. Plus you'll be supporting the CityLit Project, a wonderful organization.


Hosted By: CityLit
When:
Saturday May 17, 2008
at 3:00 PM
Where:
Barnes & Noble Power Plant
601 E. Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
United States
Description:
Fernando Quijano III reads


Click Here To See More Info About This Event

¿Who is Lilith?


Who is Lilith? 

Lilith is the rebellious and spiteful daughter of an ultra-conservative Orthodox Jewish clergyman who gets disowned when she escapes to the other end of the country and marries outside of her faith. 

Lilith is the once dutiful wife to a celebrity lawyer who hits the breaking point when she discovers her husband's illicit affairs. 

Lilith is the once-loving mother driven to the edge by her spoiled, drug-addled children.

Lilith is the savvy internet vixen who cruises the web to enjoy cybersex, seduce young men, and trawl through the darkest databases seeking out images of death and destruction.

Lilith is a dark angel that tempts men with offers to fulfill any fantasy, no matter how sinister, if one of them can commit to torturing and killing her.

Lilith is the woman who willingly dives into a self-destructive spiral that leads her into the arms of the enigmatic SlowHandSlowHand, who promises to help her carry out any desire she has, including her desire to die in his arms.

Who is Lilith really, and can the love of the one man she respects be enough to save her from herself? Read my novel (You can read the first chapter by clicking on the title), Killing, Lilith
and see for yourself. Warning: This novel is strictly for adult minds.

The First Hour (Prologue & Chapter One of My Novel, Killing Lilith)

This is the most recent version, completed in Baltimore on January  30, 2012:
3:17pm

this is the day the universe opens up to me... the day that i throw off the chains of gravity and bound around my old home. earth. california. october 12, 2006. i remember my first, but i will never forget my last. slowhand will kill me while i come, & i will go to god.





3:18pm
First hour’s the longest. Waiting. Forty-five minutes in the parking lot of El Pollo Loco staring at the opposing arrows flashing on the dash of my Infiniti. Onoffonoffonoff. Not too late, I whisper to myself; if I turn around now I can go home, start dinner, pretend nothing happenedwould ever happen. I look at the dashboard again; the blinking blurs. Nothing. Fear. Been waiting too longmost of my damned existence. No more. Desire is finally stronger than fear. I turn off the hazards, twist the key in the ignition, and start driving towards Sacramento.
Guilt. It should be weighing me down, keeping me from achieving escape velocity, but I don’t feel much of it. Two children and a husband left behind, left to fend for themselves. I can imagine the confusion when they come home hungry and expecting. Haven’t I been blaming myself long enough?
Maybe they deserve better. Not really. If they did, I would have provided it. I did provide it for the past twenty years without much complaint and gradually diminishing expectations that any of them would ever truly appreciate it. I’ve bottomed out.
I know what people will think, tooanother cruel and insensitive bitch abandoning her litter. I can already hear the cries: But those are your children. They didn’t ask to be brought into this world. YOU are accountable for how they act.
Bullshit! In the end, we all have to be accountable for ourselves. They’ve had everything they ever needed and most of the things they wanted.
I know I’m not free of all responsibility, but I was barely the moisture in the clay that formed them. The earth itself is the problem. It comes from this society we’re trapped in. Gray. Fetid. Epidemic. If I’m corrupt, it’s because the earth has stained me as well. I too am its waste.
Sure, parents should be the hands that mold the clay, but we’re much too busy working hard to maintain this contrived sanity we build around ourselves for even that job. We’ve long since passed on the responsibility to their teachers. Of course, they don’t want it either.
No, usually it’s our children’s peers, other children, providing the indelible hand. But what guides their peers? Spongebob, Pokemon, MTV, America’s Next Top Model, Eminem, Lady Gaga. Jersey Shore. Snooki? Really?
At least we have the Oprahs and Dr. Phils of the world to solve our problems in an hour minus commercials, right?
We start the kids off on Sesame Street and Barney while we get some dishes done, and before we realize it, Emily’s skipping breakfast and having nothing but a Diet Coke for lunch so that she can try to maintain her Olsen Twin figure. Is it still Barney? I suppose today our kids’ first fix is Yo Gabba Gabba!
Jacob got his first tattoo last spring at that music festival in IndioCoachella. He hadn’t even turned sixteen yet. My father, The Cantor, would have waved Leviticus at himrailed on for hours about how scarring the flesh prevents one from being buried in sacred ground.  But coffee-stirrer figures and indelible skin art are the least of my children’s problems.
Emily wanted to hang out with the “cool” girls at Brentwood during her freshman year. She started smoking pot with them. By the end of sophomore year, she was snorting Ritalin. Bumping Rit, she would tell her friends thinking the lingo would fool me, not realizing I had sources. Not even halfway through her junior year and she was bumping Ya, cocaine.
My useless excuse for a husband Jack and I did what we could, put her in a twenty-eight day program over Winter Break and cut off the generous allowance that had financed her drug use. Little good it all did.
She became so fascinated by the kids in recovery addicted to heroin that she had to try it for herself. We convinced the counselors to let her come home for Christmas. They sent her with a sponsor, someone to keep an eye on hersome skinny little thing named Sara.
We found both of them passed out on Emily’s bathroom floor, the needle still poking out of Emily’s arm like an enormous wasp stingerline of blood tracing her elbow. Poor Sara. She’d been clean for nearly a year. Her parents ended up emptying her college fund to send her to a residential recovery community in Florida. The average stay is three years.
When we wouldn’t give Emily money, she started dragging Jacob with her with the promise that he could hook-up with some of her friends so she could mooch from his funds.
When we caught on to that and cut him off too, my infinitely innovative children came up with new plans. Last spring, they used the gas card, the only one we still let them keep because it would only work at BP stations. They maxed it out buying cartons & cartons of cigarettes at station stores on their way to Coachella. They were able to make enough selling cigarettes at the show that they could spend the whole weekend fucked up on mushrooms & crystal meth with enough cash left over for Jacob to get his tattoo and for Emily to get her tongue pierced.
I gave up after that fiasco, after getting the bill for their experiment in Capitalism. I realized that we’d gotten to the point that they didn’t care what we thought of themwhat any body thought. Not that anyone else cared. Brentwood still takes our money.
“They’ll grow out of it,” Jack had said. “Remember all the shit we did when we followed The Dead?” They were just typical children testing their boundaries. Let them test their boundaries. I’m breaking mine. If they’ve stopped caring, why shouldn’t I?
As I head onto the freeway, (I’ve already been on & off twice, doubting myself because we are taught to doubt ourselves from childhood) I can’t help but wonder about everything I’ll miss. Emily’s prom this year, Jacob’s the next. Graduations. Weddings. Grandchildren. Stints in and out of rehab. Abuse. Divorces. Bitter loathing. The ever-penetrating hatred that spreads across you like a California wildfire until it consumes you and there is nothing left but scorn and ash.
Maybe they can grow from my death, avoid my mistakes. Regardless, the years they’ll spend in therapy, if they’re smart enough to turn to therapy, won’t hurt.
Will they even miss me? Think I didn’t love them because I abandoned them? Blame themselves? Screw them!
Children think all life revolves around them. That’s their greatest faultwhat separates them from the barely sane adults. Like early Christians, they imagine themselves the preeminent Earth, the absolute center of their universe. Everything else is supposed to revolve around them. Nothing’s personal, nothing’s private, and parents can’t have any aspect of their lives that doesn’t encompass theirs.
Well damn it, this is mine, and if they can’t accept that… accept my decision… Well, I suppose they need the sudden reality of losing their mother to blow them sober. I am Copernicus, Galileo, & Newton at once, the new perspective. Evolution. I am gravity, force & friction.
 Let them decide.
Jesus Christ! Can’t stop sobbing. Can’t even get a grasp of all the shit that’s ricocheting around my head right now. The over-intellectualized byproduct of a liberal arts Berkeley education mixed with years of guilt, angst and self-loathing. Twenty years wasted climbing the social ladder with Jack before plummeting off the top. The twenty years before that spent living under The Cantors shadow.  Is that who I am? Or am I something else? The demon that has reemerged with SlowHand’s guidance? Lilith come forth one last time to face God and demand a reckoning!
Jack. What about Jack? My dear-in-the-headlights husband. A part of me believes he loved me once. The rest of me knows that I was just a chance at another notch on his belt at Berkeley when he first saw me walking across the campus. I don’t have many questions left regarding Jack. I know he won’t miss me. I’ve become a burden to him of late. He’ll mourn, but he’ll eventually appreciate being unencumbered by my absence.
Will he blame himself? Probably not. Jack’s too self-involvedtoo self-righteous to accept blame for anything. If anything, he’ll blame me for ruining his life.
He may wonder, for a moment, if he could have done anything to prevent this? No, Jack. Postpone. Maybe. I hope he’s ready for the new reality. But if the prick can’t take care of himself by now, he deserves a life more painful than the death I have planned for myself.
We met in an auditorium at Berkeley. Ginsberg was howling, one of the last times toorest his soul. As I walked in, I was distracted by Jack’s eyes. I could feel them on me, scalpels dissecting and analyzing. I wouldn’t say I was flattered, but I was definitely intrigued. The sharpness of his eyes matched his face: ragged cheekbones, jutting jawline, a crooked rook of a nose. They all looked like they could cut glass, snip tin, pierce hearts.
"What’s the matter? Don’t like Ginsberg?" I asked as I took the empty seat next to him. He avoided my gaze when he realized I had noticed he had been ogling me. I could see the sweat breaking through his skin, the thought that I had caught him lost in my tits setting his face aflame. He was coy. I wasn’t.
"Well…" And that’s Jack! All hesitation and uncertainty. He plays it off as wisdom, claiming that he likes to mull things over, think about how best to answer any question. Bullshit! It takes him that long just to understand there was a question. But he’s charismatic and it comes across as charming, at first. He hides his narcissistic ignorance well. Better yet, he uses it to his advantage.
He was Pre-Law back then. I was an English major, minoring in Religious Studies, with the same aspirations to write that bestseller most English majors share. It took an effort to find some common ground.
"God?" I asked the next evening over coffee.
"Sorry?"
"Do you believe in God?" I clarified. I often found the topic a useful barometer of where a relationship might go.
"Well, no. I can’t say that I do. I think God is a product of the past. I like to think we live in a more enlightened time. We don’t need gods to explain our mysteries; we need Louis Pasteurs and Immanuel Kants. How about you?" He didn’t seem certain. Any relationship with him would prove precarious at best, I thought.
"I don’t know God. Who does, really? There’s only one way to be sure, and I’m not ready for that, yet." I was certain that nothing was certain.
We started dating, enjoyed what little common ground we were able to find or create. The one thing we truly shared was a sense that artists and their art, always under attack by those who understood them the least, needed to be protected in order for society to thrive. We figured that we had enough brains between the two of us to do something about it.
We got married after he passed the Bar. I taught English to middle-schoolers while he tried to establish himself in the field. After a year of marriage, I got pregnant and he got a job offer in Los Angeles doing what he was destined to do: Lawyer to the Stars. What a shame he got lost in the glarebeen blind ever since.
It didn’t take long to forget that sense of idealism we had shared. I can’t even imagine why we’ve stayed married this long. I suppose we used the children as an excuse for that, too. No, not really. We were both just a bit too comfortable. I was well kept. The house was well kept. We both wanted something different but were too afraid of change.
The dynamic was altered when I caught him having his little virtual affair. Now we’re still married because there are things I know about him that would humiliate him if they became public, things that would send his clients running like hypocritical cockroaches. Fear no more Jack. I’m leaving and I’m taking your dirty little secret with me.
We did thrive for a while, though, enjoying the first child, the first house, the first decorator, the second car, the second child, Jack making partner. Mutual Funds & IRAs. A second house in Aspen. Living Wills & Trust Funds. Corporations & Foundations.
We were worth more than many of his clients until the dot-com bubble burst in ‘01. But we managed to survive that. You never run out of celebrities fucking up.
Of course, things have changed since the real estate market crashed. Lots of our money was in derivatives, basically bad loans. Too much. Lately we’ve been getting more bills than checks. Most of our Beverly Hills friends have recovered just fine, but Jack’s afraid of the market, nowtoo shy to let our money make more money.
Our lovely little chalet in Aspen has been on the market for three years, now. Nobody’s buying. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was foreclosed on by next spring. At least we had it all for a while. Life seemed perfect.
Life, by most accounts, should’ve been perfect. Life should be perfect, shouldn’t it? I never did write that bestseller. The ideas filtered out as fast as the children and money filtered in. It looked like my fate lay in more domestic domains. Martha Stewart became my God, and I worshiped her willingly.
Now, if I were to turn around, I would go home to three days worth of dishes piled in the sink, mold feeding on the grout in my bathroom, and my compost bin infested with rats. Not a good thing. Martha would be very disappointed.
Unlike Ms. Stewart though, I won’t see the inside of a jail cell. SlowHand however… He deserves betterbetter than being relegated to acting as my handpicked executioner followed by the rest of his life under incarceration, a fate I doubt he can escape.
Fear again. Doubt again. If I hurry, I might get back and have dinner ready before Jack gets home. Maybe I can just blame it on hormones, get a couple of family meal deals from Carl’s Jr., and tell Jack I was just out running errands, doing some early Christmas shopping, finding a new therapist. He thinks I need a new therapist. That would make him happy… happier.
Dayenu. Enough. There’s not going to be a third time. I’m done turning around. I drive. As the last Los Angelic palm disappears from my rearview, I know I am never coming back.


 [FQ31] 3:18pm Chapter One (Los Angeles, CA)

Bus Stop

..some micro-fiction I originally wrote in 1994 or so... semi-autobiographical... edited a few times ... appeared in "Smile Hon, You're in Baltimore" and heard on "The Signal"

So there I am, sitting near the back of the number 13, working out the national debt in my head on my way to Fells Point, when I notice this woman getting on with a little boy who I figure is her son.
   As soon as I see her, I know she’s junked. Her hands look painfully swollen and puffy. Her cheeks, gaunt and sunken in, like someone had dug them out with a soup spoon. Dried spit, caked white, crusts on each corner of her mouth. Her half-lidded eyes are glazed over and unfocused, as if she can only see things within a foot of her—not that she’s trying to see anything.
   She saunters towards the back, led by the boy, and sits almost directly across from me. The boy can’t be more than four years old, but is as alert as his mother is high. She spends her time nodding off, in & out of the heroin induced nirvana in her mind, while he maneuvers from seat to seat, alternating between looking out the window and catching his mother before she falls out of her seat and onto the floor of the bus.
  He begins to get more agitated as we round North Avenue and start heading south on Wolfe Street. Every few blocks he tries to wake his mother up, each time with a little more desperation. At best she offers him nothing more than a quarter-lidded nod with a bit of a snort for good measure. At worst, she doesn’t even acknowledge his existence.
   Finally, as we near Johns Hopkins Hospital, he stands up on his seat and rings the bell himself, his cute little fingers barely able to reach the yellow stripe. As the driver slows to their stop, he hops down and starts tugging at his mother’s arm. “Momma! Momma!!” he squeals, “We gotta get off he’e!” …just loud enough to snap her out of her state of euphoria and bring her back to the city of Baltimore—at least long enough to let him guide her off the bus.
   Listening to the little boy’s voice, ingraining itself into my brain, takes me back to when I was his age… guiding my mother through the maze that is the New York subway system… making sure we got on the right PATH lest we end up at the Port Authority rather than Hoboken.
   I wonder if he sits like I used to, in front of the television watching reruns of Batman and Gilligan’s Island, chomping on a box of Lucky Charms, hoping that Batgirl would show up in her skintight jumper, or that the Professor would finally get them off that fucking island. All the while, my mom would be slouching in a chair in the next room with lines of drool making etch-a-sketch patterns on her chest while she mumbled about how much she missed her friend Janis…   Joplin, it turned out to be. I would just pray that she could work off her fix in time to cook something for dinner before I went to bed.
   I realize that the bus is almost empty. We’re almost at my stop—the last stop. I use my sleeve to wipe the tears off my face and the drippings from my nose, wondering how long I’ve been crying… was I wailing… who had noticed… who cared?
   I send my heart out to the little man one last time, wondering if he would have the same chances I’d had, the same luck. I wonder if he too would grow up too early because of the premature responsibilities, missing out on a childhood you only try to relive once it’s too late. I shake my head. More than likely, he’ll just be another casualty, found lying in the street, in his teens, with a few bullet holes—Baltimore Birthmarks—in his body. Which fate was better?
   I finish composing myself as I walk towards the front of the bus, wiping my sleeve on my jeans so the snot won’t stain, trying to shake that boys voice from my head. It’s times like these when think I can feel the pain of the whole world, but I’m powerless to ease it. I think about dinner as the bus doors slide shut behind me.

My Letter to the Superdelegates


Back in February, when the contest for the Democratic candidat for President was still in question, I received an email from Barack Obama's Campain Manager, David Plouffe (or at least his people) asking for a personal statement relating why I chose to support Obama for President. The idea was to compile the best of these and offer them as part of the conversation seeking the support of superdelegates. Granted, by now this has now become mostly irrelevant, but it's an truthful account of how I feel and have felt about the Democratic Party. Anyway, I wrote it in the form of a letter. Let me know what you think...

Esteemed Superdelegates:

I am Fernando Quijano III, born in Jersey City, New Jersey on July 4, 1969. I've been a Democrat for as long as I can remember. My mother taught me from an early age that I needed to be grateful to the party that helped us survive. You see, my mother raised three children on welfare. As one of those children, I learned that the Democratic Party was responsible for creating and protecting the programs that helped to keep families like mine safe from poverty and homelessness. While Republicans tried to sell us "Trickle Down" Economics, the Democrats gave us hope.

My family needed hope. The reason we relied on Social Services was because my mother was a drug addict. She acquired a heroin habit from a man she met when she was only a teenager, and she struggled with it all her life. That struggle made it difficult for her to maintain a job. Government programs made sure that, even during the hardest times, we had a place to live and food to eat. Not only that, but a decent education. I'm also a product of the public school system—one that, for all its flaws, served me well.

Thanks to government programs, I was able to go to colleges. I say colleges because I've been to three over the past twenty years, and I'm still not quite done. I tell folks I'm on a 20-to-Life college plan. Regardless, none of those years would have been possible without help from the federal government. I always imagined the Democrats as the guardians of families like mine who need just a little help to make a good life possible—until recently.

I began to lose faith in politics during that miscarriage of justice posing as an election in 2000. I continued to lose faith as I watched Congress in deadlock while the Executive Branch usurped more and more unchecked power. There have been times when congressmen and senators have reached across the aisle to compromise for the sake of their citizenry, but those times have been few and far between. Just as frustrating was the wheeling and dealing of both parties with lobbyists and corporations, not to mention rampant spending and today's buzzword, earmarks.

It was as if the people I had trusted the most had forgotten all about me. Not me necessarily, because I'm doing well enough now. I mean others like me, others that I know are raising families or growing up under impoverished and sometimes dangerous conditions. I can honestly say that as late as a year ago, my plans were to abandon the Democratic Party altogether and hope that a third party might come along to change things—at least stir them up. After all, Lincoln saved the Union as a third part candidate, didn't he?

And then I learned about Barack Obama. I had heard him speak once at the 2004 Democratic Convention. He was touted as a fresh voice, the future face of the Democratic Party. Little did I realize then that he would be the catalyst that would reignite my hope that government can in fact work for the people. Not just me. After the Iowa Caucuses, what began as a buzz soon became a roar—the roar of an increasingly apathetic electorate regaining its voice. Even friends who had lost hope in politics and politicians long, long ago were discovering possibilities they never imagined.

I admit, if Barack had not decided to run I would have likely voted for Hillary Clinton. I admire Senator Clinton, and I was happy to see that she made some valiant efforts to join Democrats and Republicans in getting things done. However, even if she were electable, I would have always doubted whether she would be willing or capable of cleaning up the stagnation that has all but enveloped Washington. In my heart, I know Barack can and will.

In the end, my family was ravished by drug abuse. My mother died of AIDS in 1991. My uncle, the closest I ever had to a father, died of AIDS a few years later. My little brother, sixteen when my mother died, eventually fell to drug abuse himself. He died of AIDS the day after Christmas in 2006. But thanks to various opportunities supported, if not pioneered by Democrats, I have a sister who made it out okay. She's a successful retail manager. I'm not doing too badly myself. I'm a successful retail manager in my own right, and an aspiring writer hoping to publish one of my novels someday soon. I'm also happily married with two children (I'll take the credit for that!), both of whom attended public schools like their father.

Perhaps most importantly, I understand Barack Obama's message of personal responsibility. I'm truly grateful for the opportunities I've been given, and I've given back by volunteering my time to community programs and organizations. I plan on continuing to give back by teaching once I finally finish that degree. People want to do more for their country when they feel their country is doing for them. That is what has driven the United States of America since it's inception. If you support Obama's candidacy, we can make sure that hope, benevolence and a sense of responsibility for each other continue to move our nation forward rather than allow fear, greed and apathy to continue to hold us back.

Sincerely,
Fernando Quijano III

Lincoln's Legacy

Seven score and eight years ago another seemingly inexperienced politician from Illinois was chosen to represent his party as a catalyst for change. He too had risen through the ranks of the Illinois State legislature, followed by a brief stint in Congress. He too recognized the need to change the way politics operated in Washington. He too was nominated by his party on the basis of his grand oratory and the hope he offered of uniting the nation. Of course, most of you recognize this inexperienced yet eloquent politician as one of our greatest American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln.

Perhaps it is too soon to draw comparisons between Obama and Lincoln. After all, as of this writing, while it is a given that Barack Obama will capture the Democratic nomination, he is not assured the Presidency. However, the connections between the two are unmistakable, and if Obama does indeed win election to the highest office in the land, I believe it will be the ultimate fulfillment of everything Lincoln fought for.

Before I get pounced on by the history buffs, I do understand that Lincoln did not, at first, set out with the purpose of freeing slaves. If anything, his campaign was a rejection of the status quo—continual compromises with slave owners that threatened to eventually expand slavery nationally—as not just ineffective, but dangerous.

It was the general feeling in the South that every state should be able to choose whether or not to allow slavery, and their hope was that they could expand slavery into territories extending all the way to the Pacific. Meanwhile, pro-slavery forces flooded not-quite-a-state-yet Kansas with slaveholder settlements from the slave state of Missouri and elsewhere.

When the time came to create a constitution, a requirement prior to statehood, slavery proponents imported thugs from outside of Kansas to stuff ballot boxes to assure that Kansas would in fact be admitted as a slave state. The delicate balance between North & South was in jeopardy. Lincoln simply wanted to maintain that balance and hold the Union together.

Of course, things worked out a bit differently than expected. Southern states began seceding almost as soon as election results were announced, and soon after his inauguration, Lincoln and the country were thrust into a war no one really wanted. It was during the Civil War that Lincoln's beliefs evolved. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. While not abolishing slavery outright, it did lay the groundwork for what would ultimately become the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Not bad for someone whose political experience amounted to eight years in the Illinois State Legislature followed by two in Congress.

By this point, I'm sure you can see where I'm going. As a matter of fact, some might dismiss this essay as just another in a line of those I've written to support my candidate. This line of thinking is not entirely off base. However, regardless of whom you support, you can't deny that the parallels between Lincoln and Obama are fascinating. This is not to say that I believe we are a nation on the brink of internal war. Nor am I guaranteeing that Obama, should he ultimately be elected, will be as great a president as Lincoln. I do however believe in Destiny.

It feels a bit like Destiny when the first African American to have a viable shot at the Presidency can virtually tie up his nomination on the anniversary of Lincoln's Inauguration (March 4, 1861 & 1865). It also feels like destiny that 148 years later, another presumably inexperienced, yet eloquent politician rising to prominence after a tenure in the Illinois State Legislature, followed by a short stint in Congress may soon be the one who will finally fulfill Lincoln's Legacy.