Yesterday, I had my say on the Edwards withdrawal. Today, I want to share this photo by Alan Chin taken at the announcement in New Orleans on Tuesday.
The scene was cold, and the ground wet and muddy. The Habitat For Humanity staff and volunteers were expecting Edwards to make a “major speech on poverty,” as had been billed, but instead he came to throw in the towel. He did so with a certain dignity and eloquence: “It’s time for me to step aside so that history can — so that history can blaze its path.”
Having covered him often and having been here so often, I was impressed, despite my usual cynicism, with the deliberate choice of both beginning and ending his bid for the Presidency amidst houses still destroyed from Hurricane Katrina. By the contemporary standards of American political life, he had run a decent and spirited campaign.
I invite you to open the image and really look at it. I find it a fitting portrait and parting view.
The weathered look not only contradicts the ascribed pretty boy aura, but seems to capture the edge of a weariness guaranteed to descend after unplugging from of the perpetual adrenaline rush of the campaign. I have to also say, he looks like he really gives a damn, above and beyond any shallow debate regarding any need or reflex to continue to look like he does.
I think there are a several other elements here that are also powerful, which I leave to you to excavate.
(image: © Alan Chin. Ninth Ward of New Orleans, La. January 30, 2008. Used by permission)