Friday, August 29, 2008

I Have a Dream... 

Yesterday and this morning have been very encouraging for November. Barack Obama is now the nominee, and none of the paranoid-wing ravings of "Hillary is going to steal it, you'll see" came true. (The people in that camp are to Democrats what far-right fundie evangelists are to the Republican party -- the people we wish weren't in our respective parties, because they get all the attention and give the opposition their ammunition.

I know lots of Republicans who don't oppose gay marriage, are pro-choice and undecided on the death penalty. All they want is lower taxes and a Federal Government that leaves them alone.

I know lots of Democrats who are in favor of gun ownership, who are a little suspicious of a certain religious or ethnic group (but don't feel guilty about it), who think that the idea of unlimited welfare is ridiculous, and illegal aliens are "illegal" for a reason. All they want is the Federal Government out of their private lives, and religious groups out of their private lives.

Not so far apart, eh? And that was the message I heard on Wednesday night as Barack Obama accepted the nomination as Democratic candidate for President, giving an eloquent and rousing speech on the 45th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech on the mall in Washington D.C.

And my god, said the atheist -- that man can speak. Barack Obama is a more eloquent statesman than even Bill Clinton, a more inspiring leader than JFK... in short, hell yes he's the Superstar that McCain tried to denigrate. But, you know what? Good presidents are Superstars, people who are remembered for centuries. Like -- Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, FDR, JFK. Look at your money, your schools, your streets. Don't those names tend to pop up a lot?

Just like the name Martin Luther King, Jr. He isn't on the money yet -- but that's not a half bad idea -- but how many streets and schools do you know of that bear his name?

Oh, wow. Barack is famous and a lot of people like him. Guess what, McCain? "A lot of people like him" happens to be the dumbed down so W. can understand it definition of Democracy. You know -- where majority rules? Anyone who tries to bitch about a democratic election being a "popularity contest" really doesn't get it.

Which part of, "Well, duh?" do you not understand.

So... on Wednesday, I get to watch the amazing speech with a major crowd, watch as several apolitical or Republican friends glaze over in amazement, then announce, "I am so voting for him"... watch as straight male friends declare "Okay, I'm straight, but I would have his babies right now..."

Yeah -- platonic man-crushes abounded.

I was most reminded of Frank Capra's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", especially when Barack said that "change doesn't come from Washington, it comes to Washington." Hell, yeah. And I think the biggest and most necessary change we need right now is this: Old White Guy is not in charge. They've had their chance since Washington, and they've been screwing up for far too long. You only get so many resets on your Wii. It's time for the new kid to step up and school your sorry ass.

And... the other really nice news -- McCain screwed the pooch with his choice of VP Candidate. By picking a first term governor presiding over a state population smaller than the city population of San Francisco, he has blown the "inexperience" argument out of the water. After all, Sarah Palin would be only a stroke away from the White House. McCain, being a 72 year old former POW has already run all the sand out of his life expectancy clock. In fact, for people of his age and experience, he is due to expire any day now. Meaning that we'd wind up with a former beauty queen very conservative and reactionary Anita Bryant Junior with her finger on the red button and her Constitutional understanding courtesy of Jesus and George Bush.

Or, in other words, McCain just drove the nail in his coffin. His far right cohorts will have their brains explode when faced with the choice between a black man as president or a woman in charge of the Senate (they already hate Nancy Pelosi, as do good Democrats). The previous female VP was a democrat as well, and the fear of Hillary in power can only rub off on Palin in the wrong way. And there's no telling what ongoing investigations of Ted Stevens might toss her way in a very very bad way...

Combine that with Tina Fey lampooning this woman fifteen ways from Tuesday from mid September to election day, and her falling to pieces during a debate with Biden, and McCain has basically combined Dan Quayle and Spiro Agnew with a big dose of "Geraldine Ferraro lost". Not to mention the major faux pas of "Old fart with young chick", almost like he wants to hook his coattails to the meaningless John Edwards scandal.

I run the options through my mind, and even as the most hardened of right-wing nutjob Republicans, the best option I can come up with is ""Screw it. I won't vote." The further I move from the right, the more I move toward, "Well, hell. He does remind me of JFK, and he did pretty good stuff..."

And c'mon. If you're a straight male with a pulse, there's no way you can't want Michelle Obama as First Lady. You know she'll pimp that place out and throw parties like we haven't seen since Andrew Jackson.

That, and... Barack Obama is what America needs right now. An eloquent statesman and a message to the rest of the world -- "The American people have come to their senses, have kicked out the assholes who've messed with the world for the last eight years. We've also elected a black man, meaning we're mostly over the racism that has made us a laughingstock for the world, a grand hypocrite, for nearly half our life as a country. "

And I could only hope that latter message finally melts through the hardened heads of redneck racists everywhere -- most Americans have ceased even seeing race as an issue or an impediment or even a major factor in modern life.

To paraphrase Obama, America is better than that. We are -- or should be -- finally able to see past surface features, past accidents of birth -- and only see ability.

This November, I hope that people will continue to see the obvious. Change is good. Obama is change. Or, rather, a restoration of America to what it was and should be. McCain is more of the same; Bush's third term. Elect the old white man, whether or not his running mate has a vagina -- and we'd just be telling the world, "Fuck you."

Yes, you isolationist bastards, it does matter, incredibly much, what the rest of the world thinks of us. Why? Ask yourself why the dollar is worth crap and gas is so expensive. Figure out the answer to that question, and you'll realize why Barack Obama is, at the moment, America's last great hope.

We're at an historical time, one that will see Barack becoming the next in the line of memorialized presidents -- if we're smart enough to elect him, trust him, and fix the damage that has been done.

My view from the street is this: Obama will defeat McCain in a landslide not seen in decades -- despite what useless national polls say about a tie. My advice: Democrats cannot become complacent. If you supported Hillary, get over it. She'll still be young enough in 2016. Donate to Obama, help with local electioneering events. Get your friends who aren't registered but who are like-minded registered to vote. Work this election in your head like Obama is behind by twenty points. Get the word out there, and we will win. But don't assume the word is being gotten out. Do your part.

Ask not what Obama can do for you, but rather what you can do for Obama.

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