11.04.2008

Final Words In This World

Election Eve and I'm scared shitless. Maybe because I think polls are inaccurate, sensationalist crap. Maybe because I've never yet backed a winner for the Presidency. (Admittedly, this is only my third time voting for it.) Maybe I'm hedging my bets, so that a let-down won't hurt so hard. Maybe I'm a pessimist. But, really, I think it's this: A win by Barack Obama would be such an indescribably great and wonderful occurrence that I can't really believe it will happen.

A President Obama would mean so much -- almost, dare I say it, on a cosmic level -- that I find the possibility Nov. 5 could dawn with him as President-elect only fantasy. (What would follow an Obama inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009, is a problem for another day. I can't consider policy anymore. For now our universe is a closed system, consisting of one choice. Beyond that, nothing.)

Over the last few weeks I've found myself too sickened, too distraught, too concerned to parse my thoughts or analyze coherently enough to write, thanks to the dastardliness of Mr. McCain's campaign, during which the man sold all his principles; the deja vu of proud ignorance and rabid hatreds riled by Mrs. Palin; the overconfidence of Obama supporters; my constant dread the worst will always happen. Rather than be torn asunder and rabidly consumed by the furor of this violent, national circle jerk, now barreling into climax, I retreated.

While in hiding, I've firmed my belief that polls such as have yanked us around by our collective genitalia for the last months are bunk at their mildest and, at their harshest, severely imperil our political process. I've firmed my belief that we must have a nationally standardized voting process that ensures greater accuracy and transparency. For the Crusaders of Democracy the mechanisms of our own systems cry out embarrassingly for help. So much so that both sides in this election have vociferously called for greater diligence to prevent voter fraud (Republicans) and voter stifling (Democrats).

Yet this need for transparency must extend beyond candidate vetting and campaign finances. It must infuse the White House. And only one of the two campaigns has shown anything other than wretched disregard for transparency, truthfulness and human decency -- and it's not the one that once touted itself as the Straight-Talk Express, an engine than long ago went off the rails. America deserves better.

As we should have learned over the passed eight years, America also deserves a leader who relies more on fact and brainpower than his own arbitrary whims and fantasies. One who actually values the education so-often debated on the campaign trail.

I want a President who is smarter than I am. Someone who understands better than I how to make a government work best for its people and the world. One who is better educated and a better diplomat.

If you consider casting your vote for the guy who seems just like you (despite his several homes and numerous cars), consider this: Do you really think you should be President? If you think one guy is better to have a beer with, go drink with him, but for God's sake don't vote for him. (Anyway, he'll have more time for that drink with you if he's not busy running the country.)

Give me a public servant with a brain and with knowledge. And give me one who wants to help people -- not one who thinks war and the enforcement of a unilateral morality are the sole purposes of government. Not one who incites hatred and anger but one who values peace and co-existence, so that We the People can simply enjoy our rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. How do you expect a President to educate our children well, so they can compete in the world, when he did his damndest to get expelled from the institution of higher learning to which his family legacy handed him admission -- and who now mocks people who have worked hard for, earned and utilize an American education?

Electing Obama would be so great in large part because of what he represents. Not as the USA's first non-white President (though that would be historic and important) but because, despite what culture-war mongers like Sarah Palin would have you believe, he truly represents the best of America. Not only the part of it the Republican candidate for Vice President called the 'real America', but the expansive, encompassing, living, breathing, roaring underdog-mutt of a nation that we are. Obama is pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps; he represents the best of America and would best and most effectively represent us to the world -- and run our country.

After all, the Presidency is not an honor to be earned. Which candidate deserves the office more is a malignant consideration. The Presidency is not an honor. It's a job. You don't hand an old-timer the reigns of your company based on what he's given to the place. It's not an honorary position. You hand the job to the candidate who will not only represent the best of the company and stay truest to its mission but will best guide the company day-by-day towards its greatest potential. Don't vote for John McCain because he 'deserves' to be President. If you wish to truly honor his decades of service to America give him what he's earned: a rest.

In a few hours, we, the great, brash American experiment will launch ourselves onto a new vessel, in hopes it will serve us better than our current sinking wreck, as we continue our heaving and rising and plunging through ever-turbulent seas. Which of the two proffered ships will we choose to carry us onward?

Despite my raging doubts, I hope that as you read this you're visualizing your recently passed or soon-to-come trip to the voting booth and are eagerly awaiting 7 p.m. EST when the first polls close. As we sit poised on the edge of a potential turning point for our country and our time, I sit and hope that we as a nation put our collective balls on the table and take a step towards the future and not the past, a step towards change in which even I can believe.

5 Comments:

Blogger Andres Zuleta-David said...

Bravo! I am visualizing my trip to the post office last week when I mailed in my ballot. I can't wait. This is too exciting. It really helps to be on the other side of the planet because I don't feel like this election is literally about to close down on me... I feel like I really do have a little space. And every day I read and read and watch the coverage, and it's so exciting, but I do have to thank God that I am here and not there, where - when I turn the TV off - the Japanese people (though they do care, somewhat) - are not constantly discussing or fretting over the election. So I will wake up tomorrow morning, Wednesday, and the first polls will just be closing, and I will have the option of going to work, or if it's close, staying home, enjoying coffee, sitting on the edge of my seat (wish it were tatami). I guess I will care as much as anybody tomorrow, because if Obama loses I won't be able to handle the disappointment... except for the fact that it will be easier to bear in the peace of Tokyo than if I were back home.

2:46 AM, November 04, 2008  
Anonymous Deborah said...

thank you for so eloquently expressing my hopes & fears as i head off to vote for the Best of America and the Best for America. the masses best be with me. yes we can!

6:24 AM, November 04, 2008  
Anonymous Mickey J. said...

Thank you for your comments, Jeremy. This IS the big moment of the beginning of the 21st Century. Its big, its emotional, its exciting and the alternative to my candidate winning is unthinkable.......of course I HAVE thought about it a lot, but on this morning at 7:00a.m. as I bravely drink my java and have to go to my suddenly altered voting spot (yesterday, "they" posted a sign in the lobby of my building changing the yearly usual voting location from 24th to 28th street), still even my conspiracy theory mind set isn't really worried that some bad folk are out to confuse little old liberal me on election day. Not here, not in Manhattan, not today and not this election.

If Obama wins, that hope, that truth that nothing is impossible, that core of the American dream will once again be our very own touch stone, our source of pride and our very own identity as a country on this planet.

We all need to know, particularly in this country, that our freedom and our possibilities are real and that our vote carries the power of possibility and that as a majority today we will have careened toward enlightenment instead of oblivion.

God Bless America, God Bless Us Everyone.

7:19 AM, November 04, 2008  
Blogger Beth said...

Well said, stranger.

I woke up at 6am to walk with my neighbor and my dog (who another neighbor jokingly called a "White Dog Democrat"... clad in a blue leash and red collar, my husky did look awfully patriotic) to my Jackson, Mississippi precinct and cast my vote for hope, change, intelligence and progress. There are probably few states more interesting than my own when it comes to standing in line and intuiting who's voting which way.

But I'll say this: standing in my little voting booth - no curtain, my neighbor voting just inches away - I was proud to cast my registered-Mississippi-voter ballot for Obama. If we can do that here in the Deep South... well then, yes - yes, we can.

10:17 AM, November 04, 2008  
Blogger IMGaron said...

Well said, Jeremy. Thank you for your consistently informative and insightful posts throughout this 3-ring circus.

I just came from the polls, where I spent an hour waiting in line with fellow Obamacans. Oddly, I was forced to remove all my Obama pins and my Obama t-shirt (for fear that I'd offend all the quiet, timid GOP voters in the Upper West Side.) Oh, those fascist pigs who operate the voting booths...

I've never had such a long line for voting--usually I'm in and out in 5 minutes, barring the lecture about voter fraud I received last time (when I'd failed to notify the election board of my change of address)--and it cheered me greatly to see how many people have been roused by this election, and turned bright-eyed with the possibility of what the next four years could bring.

I'm nervous as hell for tonight, but my heart is full of hope.

1:42 PM, November 04, 2008  

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