Sunday, December 30, 2007
Waiting For The Past To Die

Some of you who've been reading this blog since the early days will recall a time when it was primarily political. I'm astonished, looking back at the early archives, at how politics-oriented it was. I dropped it not long after the '04 elections, burnt out and dejected along with the rest of America, and this blog was transmogrified into the ongoing exercise in navel-gazing self-absorption you see before you today.

But I feel compelled, in honor of my first mission, to make a new political post (though not without some self-absorption included.)And I think I should drive my stake into the ground now, while I can still make a defensible claim of integrity, as opposed to the retroactive "I said so all along" that would be implicit if I waited a few more days.

I'm for Obama.

My support comes with some reservations. He's more pious than I'd like, not progressive enough on health care and gay rights, and vague on many issues where I wish he'd make his position plain. According to everything I've read, he's not my closest match politically -- that would be Kucinich, followed by Edwards. And I like Edwards, though I've grown to have some troubling doubts about Kucinich as a person, much less a politician. But Obama is the candidate for whom, when he does well, I feel pleased, and when he takes a misstep, I feel disappointed. He's the first politician of my lifetime at whom I can look and see that he's very much like me, and thus has a similar perspective on society and America's place in the world. He's a post-Vietnam, post-Baby Boom post-post-modern American who doesn't identify primarily by his race, his gender, his sexual preference, his economic class, his profession or even by his politics. He inhaled, he snorted, and he got through it okay. He knows poverty, he knows wealth, he's lived abroad and knows something about America's place in the world that only those who've lived as a foreigner can ever really grasp.

He's the complete and utter refutation of everything we've been living with for the past seven years, and something completely different than what we've had in the living memory of my entire generation. And yes, he's still a politician. No, I don't see him as a savior, and I don't expect him to fix everything. I'm not asking him to save us from the economic and environmental trauma that probably awaits us. I'm not asking him to hold war-crimes tribunals for Bush and Cheney (the Europeans are so much better at that sort of thing anyway.) I'm not anticipating that he'll fix all of our problems in his first hundred days and usher in a new age of enlightened digital-era peace and prosperity.

I only expect him to understand that he's one man who first and foremost represents what we intend to be as a nation, even if we can't live up to it right away.

Because I'm fucking sick of it -- sick of Bush, sick of Clinton, sick of Reagan, sick of the entire Vietnam/Watergate era bullshit that's been dragging us down since the day Kennedy's brains were splattered all over Jackie's tasteful pink suit. I'm sick of the America I was raised in. I'm sick of living in a superpower. I'm sick of being the object of disgust around the world. I'm sick of dealing with this same pointless right-vs-left shit-fight every two or four years. So much of what we fight over is so irrelevant, and there are so many bigger problems that require our attention and cooperation.

And I look at Barack Obama, and he is what I want America to be: mixed-race, cross-cultural, non-judgmental, educated, international, smiling gently to the rest of the world. He's the end of the 20th century mentality, and the beginning of something new. And that's all I really want.

So with Iowa a few days away, I'm hoping to see happen what seems so obvious to me -- Obama's moment comes, and with him the 21st century finally arrives in America. And it will, of course, bring its own problems and failures. But at least, at long last, it'll be progress.

PS: C'mon, tell me you don't like this guy.
8:35 PM ::
Amy :: permalink