Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pinch Me

I Want to Take You Higher - Sly + the Family Stone (mp3)
Pop Goes the Weasel - 3rd Bass (mp3)
Dare - Stan Bush (mp3)

Written mostly unedited, whilst intoxicated and celebrating late into the night...


Two things came to pass on Tuesday, November 4, 2008:
  1. A person of color has assumed the highest position in our country.
  2. The gross and stubborn hubris of the Republican Party was finally and fully acknowledged.
An entire race of people in America will wake up tomorrow with a slightly more positive view about life, about our country, about our world. Their tears are genuine, and their joy is pure. Voters like myself and millions like me get to celebrate with them. We didn't vote for a black man. We voted for a man we sincerely believed would take us and our country in a different, better direction. And we voted against a party -- not a man -- that valued power and the abuse thereof over principle and duty. Barack Obama has, over the course of more than a year, taken a very specific and consistent tack and sailed it. Some can call it smoke and mirrors, but it's the most consistent collection of smoke and mirrors you'll see in any candidate in recent history.

If the Democrats screw up their chance in the next two or four years, if they overstep their bounds and do anything approaching what extremist conservatives tried so hard to tell everyone, you're damn straight voters will make them pay.

John McCain's concession speech was befitting someone who wanted so badly to be a "Maverick." He did that speech the right way. I even think it was sincere.

This election never had anything to do with John McCain. My conservative friends and relatives might not have been aware of it. Maybe they were too distracted by their accusations of a "liberal media elite." Maybe they pacified their beliefs with words like "socialism" and "terrorism" and "plumber." Sarah Palin may have made what could have been close into a blowout, but it wasn't about her, either.

The underrated Harrison Ford film "Presumed Innocent" has one of the great final lines of recent film history: "There was a crime. There was a victim. And there is punishment." That line is the story of the Republican Party in the 21st Century.

One day, when the Republican base is not so full of venomous spite and so purely in a "with us or against us" mantra, they might even realize that it wasn't McCain and Palin that lost. It was them. It was their vitriol and their lust to win without compromise or negotiation. Our country is about getting along, about working together. Conservative Christians and the ultra-rich don't want to work together. They want to make the rules, and they want everyone else to cower, to follow, to hide. Anything less than total dominance is considered failure.

Thank God they failed. I hope it takes them a couple of decades to realize how close to the sun they flew. I hope it takes them decades to realize that their Politics of the Immovable Object is pathetic, outdated, embarrassing and... well, un-American.

When Bush beat Kerry in what was percieved as a "mandate," Dubya earned 286 electoral votes. Barack Obama will fall just shy of Clinton's numbers in 1992, as electoral votes go. That bastard -- can I call him that?? -- rode two very close victories as if they were "mandates" for him to take a big ol' shit on the heads of anyone and everyone he and his cronies wanted. I guess conservatives slept well with it, because they didn't do much to stop it. They mostly cheered him on.
 
Well, your day of reckoning arrived on Tuesday night. You'd best eat that poop sandwich and digest it, because that's the only way you'll learn how terribly off-course you took yourselves and your country. We cannot, as a country, come together if you won't budge from your perch.
 
I hope you will. I hope you'll consider it. As I type this, I'm watching Barack and Joe Biden welcome their families. I'm looking at a First Familiy unlike any we've ever seen, unlike any most of us have ever allowed ourselves to imagine. I haven't cried tears of joy like this since I first saw Corey Haim's football team give him a standing ovation in Lucas. I can't imagine feeling a more powerful rush of optimism for my country, for our country, in a more dire time. The Obama family is enough to soften a lot of very crusty cynicism. The air is suddenly different.

Maybe some Americans will hope he fails. Maybe you're one of them. If so, I hope he proves you wrong. I hope he listens to your concerns, like he says he will. I believe he wants to be your President, too. And that belief only makes me cry harder.

And the less I hear the god-forsaken word "mandate" -- a word Dubya has forever tarnished -- the better off we'll be these next four years.

Who can limit themselves to just one, two, or three songs in such a triumphant and exhilerating moment?? "It Can Happen" by Yes, "Beautiful Day" by U2, "The Rising" by Bruce, and a whole flock of songs only slightly less cheesy than "Dare" (which comes from The Transformers soundtrack from the 1987 animated movie).

3 comments:

John said...

billy,
this is as eloquent a column as I've read today. Thanks.

Karos said...

You had me at "tears" but then you had to go and be a wiener by invoking "Lucas." Baha.

No really -- awesomely put.

Anonymous said...

fuck obama