It's all around you, like smog. This train isn't bound for glory.
Background by Deak Ferrand, who pwnz.
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I am forced to concede that my last post was, as the French would say, retarded. (Actually, when a suitable occasion arises, they probably just use the term "Americain".) I suppose that I had wanted this so badly that I had to protect myself from disappointment with that reliable balm, cynicism.
Yes, it is true that President Barack Obama has not explicitly taken every position that I wish that he would - especially on civil liberties - but the enormity of this moment has hit me like a case of anthrax; like others tonight, I must concede to him. Our president - and I can use the word "our" with a clean conscience because I did, in fact, vote for him - is, without a doubt, possessed of greatness, and deserving of the position at which he has arrived. President Obama ran a clean campaign, focussed on issues, and, moreover, on principles. He and Biden advocated openly for withdrawl from Iraq, abortion rights, and equal treatment of homosexuals. They spoke of the leaders of hostile nations such as Iran as persons to be taken seriously, and engaged with diplomatically. That is to say, they risked openly admitting to opinions that could - and did - alienate many. This is rather consistent with the possibility that President Obama may, hypothetically, be sincere - a hypothesis one can hardly make with a straight face about more than a scant fraction of the political leadership of any country - much less this one.
Consider the weight of these facts: President Obama (and yes, I am revelling in being able to type those words, finally) actually specifically included gay Americans in his acceptance speech; he failed utterly to descend to negativity in his campaign; he made no political use of the failed assassination plot against him; he opposed entry into Iraq; he has specifically addressed the environment and poverty throughout his campaign, and as recently as tonight. He was revealed to have associations with more radically-minded persons like Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers, was educated in part in a madrasah, admits to having got high in the past, grew up, in part, in Indonesia, and, ferfuckssake, has "Hussein" as a middle name. Oh yes, and, lest we forget, he is a black dude. According to every available scrap of conventional wisdom, he was more likely to end up in Guantanamo Bay than the White House.
And yet, somehow, he was elected. This collective act of discernment has actually accomplished another feat long considered impossible - I believe that I may actually be proud to be an American at this moment. That's right - me. (Granted, I still don't like my country very much.) For his next trick, I suppose President Obama will freeze Hell over and grant the San Diego Padres a World Series victory. And (though I liked Kerry pretty well) I have never enjoyed casting a vote so much as I did this one.
I honestly feel like I have lived through the equivalent of the first footfall on the Moon. The difference between this and any other election I have experienced goes much deeper than race or party - it is almost as if not everything has to be terrible - which, I suppose, is the audacity of hope.
I hope Obama's really this idealistic. I hope he's this honest. I even think he probably is.
But even if he's not, I figured this: I'd rather vote for a guy who promises not to be the same kind of dick as Bush than one who promises, beyond a doubt, to be precisely the same kind. Because if McCain had won and acted like a dick, he could have said "Hey! This is just what you voted me in to do!"
At least with Obama, we can be justifiably pissed off if he turned out to be an asshat. We didn't hire him for that.
J f Z November 4, 2008 11:47 PM PST " ... a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory."
I can only hope that a constitutional scholar can bring back some of our civil liberties, despite some in the leadership in Congress.
I spoke with several longtime republicans who voted for Obama today. They know Bush had ruined their party and McCain would be no change when clearly change from the last eight years is not only desired but necessary.
I'm happy today. I know it won't last very long, but I'm just going to enjoy it for a while.