With the end of Barack Obama's acceptance speech you have Jim Lehrer noting there were no balloons falling onto the stage. Yes, that was the most important thing of note for him. It's a good thing that Lehrer saved himself and then went on to say, "But I don't know where the balloons would come down from anyway." The speech was given in an open air stadium, so you're right Jim, there's no place from which said balloons might fall.
So it's official. The United States dared to write a new story which breaks the longstanding mold of presidential politics and has nominated the first non-white male for president. Not an African-American, but an African and American. I've found it interesting that people always overlook that distinction. I guess because in the long run it hardly makes much difference. Black is black, even when it most clearly is not. I myself like to think of Obama as one for the Halfbreed Club, of which I am a proud member. Miscegenation Nation, baby!
What to say?
I don't possess the same fresh, idealistic buzz that once pervaded my mind at the presence of such great achievements. I recognize that what I witnessed tonight was significant, but I am not inspired. When I was much younger I was a political junkie. I was an absolute fool for policy discussions and believed very passionately in the concept of committed service to one's community at the grassroots level. I thought change was a force to be reckoned with, but that's a bygone time. Now change is a word that one's advising team runs through focus groups for polling data. I am a cynic. I don't trust politicians, policy wonks, and pundits. I have yet to feel impacted by any of their machinations. This is true, even though I readily profess that I am one of the most abstract, hyper-intellectual, over-analytical individuals you will ever encounter. (I overcompensate for my physical deficiencies and lack of self-confidence with my intelligence. Sue me. I like to think that if brains were beauty I would have been a supermodel.)
Once upon a time I would have sold my left tit and right vaginal lip for an opportunity to be the next Big Political Pundit on (insert your Sunday Morning Talk Show here). Now, I don't trust the Image Makers. I don't care if they come with "D" or "R" after their names. While Obama's speech was certainly more passionately and fluidly delivered than most given by our current President, the level of discourse continues to plummet and voters remain content with soap box generalities peppered with their favorite campaign catchphrases about all that needs to be done "for the children." The theatre of American politics continues to degrade our ability to respect civil, honest, intellectual engagement with issues. We dumb ourselves down for fear of facing the fact that so much of it is pointless. But we live in a different time from the Age of Lincoln, or so I tell myself. Politicians don't quote literature or offer up statistical proof--that's just too heady! Even so, I wonder if there ever really was a time when a politician could just break out of a PR constructed shell and speak truth to power in words which would frighten the electorate and establishment alike, but still compel them to take heed, self-examine, and act.
Please don't mistake my cynicism for apathy as I have every intention of voting. I always vote. But it doesn't mean I believe. My willingness to offer my unswerving faith to a fallible human with the occasional dash of eloquence is undercut by the truth of my every day existence. I keep hearing all of these speeches about "America's Promise" and the vitality of the "American Dream" and none of it resonates with me. They fall hard and ring hollow. American Dream? America's Promise? Don't give me that. I've worked hard, have been saddled with an albatross of debt to be the first in my family to attend University, but I've seen moments where my tenacity and inquisitiveness stood for nothing against someone whose Daddy had a friend in X office to make a call so that Jr. or Jane could get that prime job. Opportunity is not always about effort. More often than not it's about proximity to power and access. No politician will ever tell you that, but they know it. Deep down, they know it to be the truth.
On less serious notes, it amused the shit out of me to hear the sistahs in the crowd during Obama's speech yelling things like, "That's RIGHT!" and "YEAH! YEAH!" Nice. But whose fucking idea was it to play a COUNTRY song after Obama's speech? And why did Obama not actually SAY Dr. King's name. He invoked Dr. King's memory, but didn't have the courage to say his name. Why? Perhaps that is my cynicism rearing its ugly head again.
I promise that future blogs will not be so political. I attribute this change in tone to the fact that my hour long bus rides to work have left me plenty of time for reading and rumination, so politics has worked its way into my head. But sometimes I think about sex. Maybe I'll blog about that more. Would you like to know fabulous sex is with yours truly?
Ok. I'll stop.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
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