"Well, I was always curious about how it'd be," I began. "How the whole process -- yeah, I guess the country, too -- would work with someone who actually cared about . . . Well, y'know, I wonder: It couldn't always have been the way it is now, the feeling of -- of blah. Swamp gas. Stagnation. There had to be times when it was better. The other guys had it with Reagan, I guess. But, to me, he was just floating with the flow. He didn't try for anything hard. . . ."
"And a good thing, too," she said.
"Yeah, I guess . . . The thing is, I'd kind of like to know how it feels when you're fighting over . . . y'know -- historic stuff. I'm not like you. I didn't have Kennedy. I got him from books, from TV. But I can't get enough of him, y'know? Can't stop looking at pictures of him, listening to him speak. I've never heard a president use words like 'destiny' or 'sacrifice' and it wasn't bullshit. So: I want to be part of something, a moment, like that. When it's real, when it's history. I . . ." I had let things slip a little bit. That wasn't good. I was interviewing for a job where my primary responsibility would be to not let things slip.
"Gaddamn," I said. "My, my, my," I said -- just like my father, and just like his father, the Reverend Harvey Burton, the man Susan Stanton had praised. Embarrassing, to make this into Black History Month; unprofessional. But I saw: she was with me. It was okay. Still, I had to button it up. "I feel like -- a real jerk -- even saying that sort of thing," I said. "Maybe we're not living in a time when those kinds of dreams are possible, or even appropriate. But it's late and you asked, and there it is."
"No, you're right," she said. "It's good. History's what we're about, too. What else is there?"
Tags: Primary Colors, Anonymous, Joe Klein