I'm not sure if I'm one of those people who considers American elections to be empty, meaningless charades -- pointless formalities that merely keep a docile public thinking they've got some kind of control over their lives, as the same political players get shuffled around a little bit every four years or so while the richest one percent continue to run the USA from on high.
I feel that way sometimes -- it's hard not to. Our system only has two corrupt -- and often indistinguishable -- parties to choose from and only the mega-rich have a shot at the presidency. How could that be a good thing? What kind of choice is that?
But I admit, it's hard not to get excited over Obama. He's built a grassroots campaign funded by real citizens; he's articulate and impassioned without seeming haughty or dramatic. He comes not from a super-rich family, but from the humblest of single-parent households. He's strong but not arrogant, a characteristic that goes a long way in dealing with our neighbors in the world.
I like when Obama talks about "our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters". That's bold. John Kerry would have never used that kind of language because he was too busy trying to appease everyone, including the bible-thumping dumbfucks in Arkansas. Fuck that. It's time to move on. It's time for those people to catch up with you and me and the rest of the world.
I like how Obama doesn't use his religious convictions as a bludgeon. I like how he takes the high road, always, when dealing with his competitors. And most of all, the mere fact that a black man is running for -- and is likely to be -- president of the United States this year, when just a few decades ago blacks couldn't even take a seat on the front seat of a damn bus, makes me think that maybe elections aren't meaningless after all. That positive, progressive change in this country is indeed possible -- it just takes time. Obama's very presence in the 2008 election bears this out.
John McCain is a venerable war hero but he's also an old man (with a lunatic running mate), he has agreed with most of GWB's lame-brained policies and decisions, and he doesn't even know how many damn houses he owns.
(Side note -- can you imagine losing track of how many houses you own?)
I don't know what Barack Obama will be like as a president, but at the very least, he'll be a great precedent (sorry for the pun). I'm a hopeful cynic. Let's give this guy a whirl. Let's shake up this dull-ass party and see what kind of stuff happens. Let's see if we can move this glacier forward another few inches.