It was the weekend after the national election, and I knew the ride would do me good. My mood was as murky as the smog that on the previous Tuesday had shifted from Los Angeles to Washington. The coastline between Ventura and Santa Barbara is not the most picturesque in California, but it sure beats anything in eastern Michigan. For one thing, the Pacific Ocean is not a lake, and for another, the solid citizens who captain industry out here have not yet succeeded in killing the ocean. Even when the sky is an ominous gray and thin wisps of fog play hide-and-seek with the headlamps, the coastline provides a striking backdrop for some intermittent reflection on current events. I confess I didn't get the same charge watching Lake Erie die.
My reverie was interrupted by the bumper sticker which read, "Hang in there, America, the Republicans are coming." I managed a smile, and as I pulled alongside a prim Honda four-door sedan, I thought I saw an equally proper driver whose firm, two-fisted grip of the wheel symbolized the new posture her party had assumed three days earlier.
They had arrived--at long last--after Goldwater, Agnew, Nixon, Ford, et. al., and if the victory was somewhat short of the second coming, it was nevertheless impressive. Watching the hoopla of inauguration, I felt my usual pang of joy at the triumph of the American dream. I may be black, and my boyhood naiveté may have suffered considerable refinement over the years, but I'd like very much to believe in those old dreams--even the one about any boy growing up to be president. After all, Ronald Reagan is as close to any boy as we're going to get.