Monday, November 3, 2008

The Closer

I do not pretend to have done nearly as much as I intended to, but this is New Hampshire--arguably, a battleground state, where McCain is still admired--and my Boston-based daughter and I have just come back from canvassing a couple of dozen of my neighbors for the Obama campaign. I think it is safe to say that one fear many of us have had is misplaced: that the lopsided polls would engender a kind of complacency, and people who might otherwise have turned out for the Obama ticket would stay home, expecting to take a free ride on others.

Even people in their 90s greeted us with the moral equivalent of a high-five. Nobody asked for help to the polls, or needed to know where they were voting. The last time I sensed anything like this level of enthusiasm for an election was when Pierre Trudeau swept into office in Canada in 1968.

There are some obvious reasons for this. Bush. The economy, or at least the television version of it, since the worst effects have not yet been felt. The war. The pundits (who shouldn't be the only ones to have some fun). But I think there is something else. The candidate.

John Kenneth Galbraith once said that political revolutions come when someone kicks through a rotting door. It has been a year since we've started hearing that Obama lacked kick, that he was "O'bambi," too likely to be swift-boated in a non-bean-bag world, too much Kumbaya. Who would have thought that so many people in New Hampshire, for God's sake, could get such a kick out of tact and integrity.

My daughter (who is 25) came home with me moved. "You can't imagine what this means to me," she said, "after thinking my generation was utterly without political passion." I answered: "You can't imagine what this means to me, someone who wept all night when Martin Luther King was shot, and then stayed up numb when Bobby Kennedy was shot." "You win," she said.


Shoded Yam said...

When I was a kid, I listened while the folks, and the grand folks would wax poetic about either John F. Kennedy or Franklin D. Roosevelt. Much like how many of us remember 9-11, they could tell you exactly what they were doing and where, when Jack was murdered and FDR died. As a quintessential "Gen-Xer", I never experienced the sort of passion and inspiration that these two men would forment in their contemporaries.

No, I'm afraid my presidential "inspirations" were the products of such luminaries as Lyndon Baines Johnson,(upon signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, was heard to remark; "We'll have the darkies voting for us for a hundred years") known for, among other things, holding cabinet meetings while urinating in the exceutive john. Or perhaps Tricky Dick and his wacky gang of plumbers. Oh, how I yearn for the ratfu*cking antics of a haldeman and ehrlichman. And who could forget, Gerald "The Fix is In" Ford, care-taker President and Warren Commision stooge who couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. Then just for laughs, an equivocating peanut farmer, who had placed his manhood in a jar under the house in Plains, and forgot to bring it with him when he moved to Washington. Now lets all give a hand to that master communicator, that verbal masturbator, Ronny Raygun. Morning in America? It should've been Bedtime for Bonzo.

And of course, 1988's Francisco Franco Award for Excellence in Facism goes to George Herbert Walker Bush. When he was prattling on about the "New World Order" and Saddam Hussein and Kuwait, I wish I had known then, that meant planes flying into buildings, thousands of dead americans, a subsequent war ostensibly fouught in the name of WMD and counter terrorism, but in reality to pad the profit margins of such entities as Blackwater and Exxon, a war that would kill and maim hundreds of thousands and that my future kids college fund would eventually disappear. Oh well, at least CNN gave us a good show, with all the bells and whistles.

And then there was Bill, and there was this skank, and that slut, and this whore, etc, etc, etc..... Its a wonder the man could move from one room to the next in the White House without tripping over his pants 4 or 5 times a day. I'll tell you this though, that bed never saw action like that when Lincoln slept in it. ;-) Which brings us to the Chimp.

Well, what can be said except;

"Mission Accomplished"

I have spent the better part of my adult life honing my sword of cynicism to a fine, razor edge. This coupled with my rapier-like wit, has served me well over the years. The other night, my wife Michal and I watched the Obama "infomercial". At the risk of sounding incredibly superficial, I was genuinely moved. Now I have heard Obama speak before and have read the texts of his speeches. But there was something in the way he spoke, something in the way he was able to address deep seated feelings, of frustration and disillusionment that I think many of my generation carry around with them like luggage. We needed our JFK, we needed our FDR, and it would appear that fate and the gods have delivered him unto us. As I mentioned my wife, watched the ad as well. At the end of it, I looked over at her, and she had a tear in her eye. My wife is a sabra, and holds a doctorate in Bio-Chemistry from Hebrew University. In addition to having a certain fondness for the scientific method, she is the prot-typical Israeli, cynical to a fault. Apparently, after all the Barack's, Peres's, BiBi's, Olmerts, and the rest of the kleptocrats, she needed someone whom she could believe in as well. Michal and I live in Van Nuys, California. I run an engraving and graphic arts business and Miki teaches biology to inner-city high school kids here in Los Angeles. She has been a permanent resident for the last 10 years. The day after we saw the ad, Miki filled out her citizenship papers. I always said Michal would make a better American than most Americans. And with that I wish all a good night.



Shoded Yam said...

Yes we did.

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