Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

March 2, 2008

Not since the glory days of Neverland Ranch has a whitish black man kissed so many babies.  Barak Obama has made it his mission in life to charm the pants off of the entire nation – and the amazing thing is: it’s working.  He’s got a really good chance to end Clinton’s campaign this week… and be the first black presidential candidate (with any real chance, that is).  Somehow, due in large part to his second-nature eloquence and charm, Obama has managed to represent paradox.  He’s a black candidate who has yet to engender  any significant racial scrutiny.  He’s a liberal-progressive, running as a reformer.   He’s both approachable and aloof – charming and clumsy.  For me, he’s like warm dishwater – you’re not crazy about it… but you don’t want to take your hands out of it either – you’ve come to like the warmth.

My support for Obama hasn’t been nearly as fevered as most of my peers.  Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten a bit older now, and have passed through my fiery political phase.  I still stay informed and involved… in fact, I think my political interests are more legitimate now than ever.  When I was in my early twenties I was and fueled by a passionate rage against the Bush Administration and its wonderful carnival of horrors.  My interest in politics came to me through that lens, and so it colored everything I thought I believed.  It came to be that if asked my political opinion… my default position was the opposite of Bush.  He was for tax cuts… I was against them.  He was for No Child Left Behind, I was against it.  It wasn’t until after a few years had gone by that I really started to pay attention to the actual particulars of these issues.  I was caught up in the frenzy and reaction… but never really the study, never the analysis.  I was… essentially… Bill O’Reilly. 

Now, I know what you’re saying:  "But Andrew… how can you be Bill O’Reilly?  You have feet, not hooves.  You can see your reflection in mirrors, and your laughter doesn’t cause flowers to whither and ponies to collapse dead."  Yes… that’s all true.  But in a less literal way… I was Bill O’Reilly, because I wasn’t interested in the actual issues… I was interested in the feelings.  What started as a genuine interest in the goings on of my country – 9/11, the Iraq War, GITMO, Gay Rights, etc – turned into an addiction.  I became addicted to my anger – I started to get off on the outrage.  I was one of those people who voted for Kerry… not because I believed in him, but because he "wasn’t George Bush."  And while I reluctantly stand by that vote… that’s really not a good reason to vote for anyone.  I became an armchair pundit, a spectacle of sanctimonious and uninformed outrage… issues didn’t require research if they pertained to the Bush Administration… as far as I was concerned… the jury was out at first glance of the defendant.

Well the Bush years are drawing to a close… and we’re moving into, what seems to be, the Obama years… and I’ll tell you, I’m really curious to see what’s going to happen.  I’ve said several times, both in this blog and in real life, that I don’t really believe in Obama that much.  I’m jaded.  I’m cynical.  I think he’s running because he cares about us… sure… but I think he cares about himself first… and am sure that the first item on his agenda come Day 1 of his Presidency will be getting re-elected.  Such is life.  It always surprises me to see how many people are taken in by his schtick.  Dont get me wrong… he can be very moving when he speaks.  He communicates like a real leader – like a statesman.  But in the end those are just words… and while they have the power to inspire, lets face it, they’re not going to.  This is America people… we’re inspired to jerk off to internet porn and discover new consumable mediums for nacho cheese flavoring.  We’re bonbon popping, internet-surfing colons in old navy cargo pants.  Obama is catching on for one reason – Change.  And that change… that nebulous concept that everyone accepts but will NEVER agree on… is due to one thing and one thing only – he’s not Bush.  And like I said before… that’s not a good reason to elect anyone.

If Obama wanted to really be an agent for change… he’d put nuclear disarmament on the table.  He’d have an actual energy policy that means something.  He’d make gay marriage – MARRIAGE – legal and amend the constitution to protect the rights of GLBT Americans.

My friends love this guy.  I think he’s just a slick, newer version of the same old machine.  I don’t see anything positive coming from his presidency… he’s just not Bush.

Still… there’s one way that Obama’s Presidency could change things… one horrible way.  It’s the one thing we all think when we see him at a speech… or walking around outside.  It’s this:  what’s going to happen when someone kills this guy?  Obama will be making a speech in Texas or North Carolina or Arkansas, or some other state where the citizens drink Bud from the can and molest their livestock.  He’ll be talking about freedom and change and hope and blah blah BANG.  A gunman will take half of his face off with the new high-powered sniper rifle he was able to buy at Walmart… because this country sees nothing wrong with selling death contraptions to its most uneducated citizens… and he’ll die, and go down in history as God’s own personal warrior… and then…

that’s just it… I don’t know.

Will race relations in our country erode completely?  Will there be riots?  What will happen to all of that hope that he’s inspired?  Will it turn to the same cynical jelly I leave behind me as I ooze around through my life?  As much as I don’t like to admit this… I think that I, and my entire generation for that matter, am a byproduct in some way of 9/11.  My worldview (which, in defense of my identity, was already well on its way to being bleak) was molded by it somehow.  There I was… a Sophomore in College… and boom – in one afternoon, my generation became the last people to know that old American somnambulance – that warm delusion that everything is just fine.  Everyone else who would grow up in our country would know what we know now… a world that doesn’t like us – that thinks we’re fat and arrogant and meddlesome.  Of course… the world felt that about us well before now… but prior to 9/11… very few of us had any idea.  Maybe that’s why Bush’s rein fell apart like it did… because we’re way past the days of, "trust me, it’s all gonne be a.o.k!"  This certainly seems to be Bush’s economic policy, as he responds to countless reports of recession with, "LA LA LA LA AAH CAN’T HEAR YOU!! LA LA LA! WE’RE GON’ BE JUST FAAINE!" 

I’m all over the place here… sorry… I’ll come to my point.

If Obama is elected and then assassinated… what will happen to those scores of young 20 somethings?  What will they do with their hope?  Will Obama’s murder be their 9/11?  The resounding wakeup call that hope is really a delusion?  That change is merely another tool employed by our betters to control us?  That none of us are really free at all, but enslaved by money and property and business?  That the world is falling apart… and that in 50 years we’re going to be eating each other and worshiping the sun?  Okay that last part isn’t gonna happen… but you get my point.  What happens to hope when it’s corrupted by reality?  Does it turn to cynicism?  Was it Kennedy’s assassination that led my father’s generation to eventually vote for Ronald Reagan?  Twice?  As a proud cynic… I’d like to think that voting for a psychopath like Reagan is a sign of something other than cynicism… maybe it’s just stupidity.  Maybe they liked his acting – though I can’t see how that could be possible.  We’ve already fallen so low… we’ve already elected such cruel thugs… such goons… could it possibly get worse?

Leave it to me to look at this candidate of hope and see nothing but misery… that’s just my way, I guess.  Just worried is all. 

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