Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You've come a long way, America.

This will be my last and only talk about politics for now, at least concerning the recent presidential election. First off, wow--how long since the civil rights movement? Since race riots? Like I said once before, every thing I learned about race relations I learned from Amiri Baraka's Dutchman in college, so I'm not so naive as to think that America's race problems are all fixed. (I'll give us a lot of credit, though--Europe didn't extend its progressivism to race. It's bad.) But good golly ... who'da thunk?

This next part goes a little deeper than you may be accustomed to on this blog, but it's my blog and I do as I please here! I didn't vote for anyone for president--I left it blank. I didn't write in anyone dumb in or vote for Nader either. I'm uncomfortable with Republicans billing themselves as the Christian party yet seemingly ignoring the mass of the Bible's directives not to favor the rich over justice for the poor. Open up any section--the Prophets, the Psalms, the Gospels--and there's a good chance this will get mentioned. That said, I was uncomfortable with Obama's rather extreme views on abortion. I'm still not happy that the Democratic Party still won't acknowledge Democrats for Life while the Republican Party is more than welcome to pro-choice candidates. Hmm. That's just how I felt, and that's my full disclosure.

We both agreed that if John McCain had been throughout his campaign the man he was last night during his concession speech, we would've been much more inclined to vote for him. We were fond of McCain at times when being fond of McCain was unfashionable! But he was not the same person. I think the negativity got to everyone involved, and I believe they said of Palin last night that, if she returned to the national spotlight (seems likely to me), she would not conduct a campaign that way. Still, even if the candidates are on their best behavior, I doubt that many supporters will be so kind. I think Berkeley Breathed said it best when talking about the end of "Opus":

In most aspects, there's no arc to the human story. Only a line heading upward. For nearly everything. In this case, the coarsening of the National Discourse. We aren't returning someday to any sort of golden era of political civility. The line heads heavenward and has been since the Republic started. And with the intersection of two rather dramatic dynamics -- the cable and Web technology allowing All Snark All the Time ... and the political realities of No More Free Lunch in America, it will spike in the coming years ...

It's not so much dark times now, as profane and loud. Satire you'll have, oh dear me, indeedy yes. "Vomitous" and "awash" are two words that come to mind. It used to be that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. How antediluvian. Rather, everyone will now want a satirical YouTube film with 15 megabytes.

Satire we'll have. Rather, the real dearth in our world will be sweetness, comfort, thoughtfulness and civility.

Still, there's something profoundly uncynical about this whole election. Stripping away everything else, the choices were our first black president or our first female vice president. I can't think of a better sign that we've come a long way.

To bring it back to cynicism, however, I wonder if Stevens (who, ironically, can't even vote now that he's been convicted of a felony) won in Alaska again ...

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