On the eating of crow
An epistle to the believers from a political atheist
So this is weird.

There is a degree to which it is assumed, I suppose, that because I am a geek, because I am a furry, because I'm a feminist, because I went to Boulder and majored in anthropology and read David Sedaris, because I live in San Francisco, I should be a liberal. So, I think I disappoint people sometimes. I guess people would probably like me to be a liberal.

Which in some ways I am. I am registered with the DNC; I worked on the Kucinich campaign in 2004, voted for John Kerry, and was bitterly disappointed when he lost. I think George W. Bush is at best an average president, am perpetually surprised that it's been eight years of that shit, and will be mostly glad to see him out. I support gay marriage, the environment, and civil liberties.

I'm not happy with this presidential campaign thus far. I wasn't especially happy with either of the leading Democratic candidates, I didn't like the premature attempt to force Clinton out, and on balance I consider Obama the weaker of the two (who I would vote for, both candidates and not: Edwards--yes, even now. Feingold. Kucinich*. Gore. Clinton, begrudgingly). I have active problems with Biden, which I have partly detailed here before.

As a consequence I have maintained a curmudgeonly detachment from the season as it progresses. I am not quite as much a sceptic of Obama as it seems, because I tend to overstate my positions--but nor do I see him as a savour, and I certainly don't believe him about to bring a new era of reform and change in Washington, DC. He's a politician--and a decent, admirable human being. But he wasn't born in a manger. Hence the detachment.

For the first time this season, I am genuinely, actively interested. Perhaps even--dare I say it--inspired? In terms of groundbreaking candidates, I would've preferred Rice, yes. But this will do in a pinch. Palin is not quite a dark horse--there has been speculation about her for months--but things were definitely leaning Romneyish, and that might have been enough to swing me over back to the DNC.

I can't quite explain it, but I am enthralled. I know now how young Obama voters feel. I know the exquisite, beautiful pleasure that comes from thinking that the person you are voting for actually might be different--that just this once, it's worth being hopeful over. I'm not used to that in politics. Being a jaded son of a bitch leads one to think that people who do get excited are getting their hopes up for nothing. I probably intimated as much. And I'm sorry.

I fucked up (I do this a lot, but I don't admit it often). I thought that the light was gone from the political system; that anything that remained was just foolish self-delusion, seeing what we wanted to where we wanted to see it. And hell, maybe it is. But let's face it--August a year from now will look like August today; 2012 will look like 2008. A country of three hundred million people, of more than five hundred legislators, of innumerable and irreconciliable courts, doesn't turn on a dime.

Maybe it doesn't turn at all.

In our hearts, we know this--we know that politics at its best is the belief in a sort of fairy tale--I mean this in the best way. At its best a candidate returns the tiniest spark of magic to our lives--invigorates the delicious sense, orgasmically transient, that good does triumph over evil, that a thousand Hollywood endings have the briefest chance, the smallest window, to leap from box office to political office. This is what Robert Kennedy did, why it was so calamitous when his story was cut short.

Every now and then, it's important to have something--someone--to hitch our wagon to. To look upon with awe. To believe in fully, one hundred percent. To pull for--subconsciously, even. In our dreams. This is what Obama brought--brings--to the Democrats. I'm sorry I didn't see that before, because to be perfectly honest, now that I've seen the light, I only wish I'd seen it earlier. Wanting someone to win, rather than merely to beat the other guy: I'm on board with that.

And I can be on board with others who do that, even if we don't see eye to eye on the right choice. So. Here--and for once in my bitter life I am being absolutely sincere--here's to November!

/a

* How do you vote for Kucinich despite being a conservative? you say. Because to be perfectly honest I think many tenets of liberalism are appealing but unrealistic. The realist in me votes Republican. The idealist votes Democratic--when they are actually committed to carrying out those ideas. I believe Kucinich is. Republican Alex is a cynic.
La Chevre
29.08.2008 - 9h23
La Chevre
9.09.2008 - 10h35
Comrade Alex
9.09.2008 - 10h59
La Chevre
10.09.2008 - 9h18

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