Witnessing great history – finally!

Written by Amy | 4 Comments

I read a lot of history books from the early explorers, the American Revolution, Civil War, and biographies of almost all the presidents. I am always wondering as I read – what it would be like to live in a time of great history?

I’m not old enough to completely remember the Vietnam War, except for my parents being worried about my brother Rob being drafted, the Civil Rights Movement or many big historical events like JFK and Nixon. So, I’m in no way an expert about what makes history but I feel like I am living in a time that feels big. I know there is the obvious, first woman and African American running to hopefully to our next President. Obvious and big. Then there’s our environment, economy, peace, health care, taking care of our kids and communities – on and on.

We have received many emails and inquiries about whether Tazza D’Oro will be supporting a candidate. I happen to be one of those folks who hasn’t decided who to vote for – Obama or Clinton. Our staff is pretty much split down the middle.

I am just happy to witness such amazing and interesting debate. I don’t remember anything like the current discussions both nationally, locally and right in the coffee shop. People are engaged!

This morning I received an email from one of our good customers, Jim Bogen, asking me to post the speech Senator Obama gave yesterday addressing racial issues in our country. Jim told me a little about his experience in times of great history and so I read the speech. I totally agree with Jim that it is worth reading and yep we are making history. Jim, thank you. Click here to see or hear the speech.

I’m going to keep listening and watching and absorbing and paying attention this moment. I don’t subscribe to the “hair on fire” mentality but instead I see many great opportunities to look at ourselves, our culture and our leaders and begin to change in a positive way and maybe save the planet as a result.

Coffeehouses since the 1500’s have always been fertile ground for great political discussions and change. At one point, coffeehouses were illegal in many parts of Europe because political leaders believed that the intellectuals and just regular folks would try to take over or cause discourse. Coffeehouses back in the day were called “Penny Universities” because all members of the communities hang out over coffee and the folks who didn’t go to college could engage in debate and discussion with the well-educated.


  1. francine

    Amy Obama’s speech yesterday morning will most likely go down in history as oratory perfection. One of the best deliveries I have probably heard in my lifetime. Yes, you are right that this election has people engaged and interested. One of the major disappointments from Obama’s speech is the fact that he almost justifies racism in this country. Another point he made about white men being discriminated against I totally disagree with. The system is in place to keep blacks down in this country…I don’t think it works both ways. I’m not happy with either candidate. We need many more parties in this country to truly have a democrarcy. I am leaning towards Obama and will continue the fight for peace and social justice for all in this country, not just for a few that benefit from our capitalist society. Thank you for creating an atmosphere where people can discuss, debate, and inspire each others political views and persuasions.

  2. Ward

    I don’t know if it really adds up to “great times”, but prolonged periods of war often do bring about all kinds of social upheaval. In recent memory, the World War II, with its West Coast “internment” camps, Vietnam, with Kent State and other atrocities of that ilk, and, of course, the Bush fiasco in Iraq, with its barbaric use of torture, hubristic mendacity and unprecedented assaults on citizens’ privacy, all point to the corrosive effect that prolonged wars have on the fabric of Anerican democracy.

    Experiences like these almost always produce some sort of political pendulum swing. After WWII, it was a retreat from the progressive policies and global world view of tne New Deal into the bourgeois “comfort” of the materialistic Eisenhower years. Vietnam brought us the most turbulent decade, and greatest overturning of Establishment values, of at least the last half of the twentieth century, if not of the entire twentieth century, and it doesn’t surprise me that BOTH major parties are now looking at new types of candidates in the wake of the horrors of Iraq.

    I certainly hope that Senator Clinton or Obama will be our next president, but it is quite clear that the Iraq war is hastening the end of rigid right-wing governance in this country–and not a moment too soon!

    Ward Kelsey

  3. Mlika

    Amy, I’ve moved to the North Side and I don’t get to Tazza d’oro often but I do miss that coffee shop environment and enjoy reading the posts here and comments. Being African-American woman, I have been so amazed at the possibility of Barrak Obama becoming president that I had to take a moment to really appreciate the possibiity of a woman becoming the president and it has been mind blowing. Also, what I really appreciate about Obama’s speech is that he is addressing what many like myself have experienced. I know many older African-American with so much hate, resentment and ultimately racism inside, it is impossible to address, especially from someone much younger like myself. I haven’t had the same experiences but I know these thoughts aren’t really healthy or productive and even if these feelings are warranted they need to be addressed. I read so often about racism against whites and I realize many are unaware of the motives or reasons behind this. Your coffee shop has a fine atmosphere for a discussion like this.

  4. jim bogen

    As I emailed Amy originally, A ‘More Perfect Union’ is the speech I’ve wanted to hear since the late 1960s when my friends, and the students and faculty of the college where I taught were torn by the fear, resentment guilt, and violence of race.
    During that time I saw a veteran of the civil rights movement driven to tears
    in public humiliation. I watched my college’s black students leave their dorms to spend a night in a faculty member’s house because they had heard that armed white men were coming into town to attack them. And one afternoon a bomb exploded in a the lobby of a college building just as one of my closest friends (he was a renowned philosopher whose conversation was invaluable to me) was about to enter.
    That’s why Obama’s speech meant so much to me. I think it’s one of the
    important things that’s happened during my 72 years, and unlike many of the others, it was encouraging.