Monday, November 3, 2008


I am not a political writer. I leave the punditry to other writers and, to be honest, I'd rather read political commentary than make it myself.

However, with History putting on her sequined pink taffeta prom dress to go to the big dance, I feel somewhat obliged.

On my desk is a sticker version of the famous Obama poster - the one designed by Shepard Fairey, of Obey Giant fame (Fairey created a sticker campaign in 1989 of block prints featuring Andre they Giant. At the bottom of the sticker it read "Obey". If you are driving around LA, you'll see them all over the place). This has to be one of the most elegant and beautiful pieces of campaign material I have ever seen.

Our national colors of red, white, and blue have always been sort of a yawn to me, but here they are look fresh and evocative: There is a divide, you see? Between the blue and the red. They are separate (and note that there is slightly more blue than red on the poster - more blue states, fewer red states.) but on Obama's face they (along with white and black) work together to create his outline. They don't ever blend, but they exist in the same space, jointly creating a whole picture.

And at the bottom of the poster, in blue sans serif block letters is printed, "Hope."

(I suppose it would not have done to use posters reading "Obey Obama" hanging around.)

I'm finally getting to be old enough that I can look back and see how the culture changes over time. I no longer think "This is how it always will be." I can remember clearly a Regan presidency all the way down through Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. I can recall the sense I had, conscious or not, of the time - how I felt, how the Culture felt.

I had forgotten over the past eight years, that things evolve. I never thought a president had much affect on my life, but it turns out, he does. In our love, or hate, or apathy towards the highest office in the land, the President is a figurehead of the people and he holds a powerful sway over our daily lives. We see him every day in some form. We hear about him on the news. His action stirs the cauldron of our country in ways that cannot be touched by policy.

And over the last eight years, we all got dumber. Eaten up by our greeds, frustrations, anxiety, bloodlust.

Not without reason. Since 2000, we have been taught to fear. To blame. To squabble over minutia. We taught ourselves these things by allowing terrible national events to continue unabated, by giving into heartbreak when our efforts to change failed.

Hope. It says it right there on the bottom of the poster.

It's pretty daring. It bids us to take an enormous chance. Hope doesn't offer any guarantees or specifics. It doesn't take into account past wrongs or personal baggage. It demands we move forward. Hope doesn't care if you were swindled before, if you were hurt, if your house of cards fell to the ground.

Hope commands you to try again.

There is a buzz in my heart about my country that I have not felt before. I love my country...and like most of us, I have a lot of conflicting feelings about it. But the other day, my nephew R. and I were walking out of the house and he saw the Hope poster. "Who is that guy?" he asked me. I said, "That's Barack Obama, the next President of the United States."

I said it without hesitation or the slightest hint of irony. It sounded like a piece of cracker jack dialogue from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But I meant it.

I like Obama. I don't agree with everything he serves up, but I do like him. In fact, I love this guy for reasons beyond his policies or promises. He is a manifestation of our readiness to try again. He's a man preparing himself to step into the supernova of history. What an incredible thing to witness. I wonder if he stands in the shower going "Holy Fucking Shit...what the hell is going on? Is it really ME who's supposed to do this?"

He may totally screw this puppy up. But today, we don't know that, and we won't know the result of an Obama administration for weeks, months, years to come.

He may lose, as a silent majority sweeps the polls come Tuesday Morning.

We may go back to our old way of thinking. We may be foiled again. But today, we don't know that.

Don't assume everyone's going to vote for Obama. If we want this guy in office, we gotta play this one like the Boston Red Sox against the Yankees in 2004. Get in there. Beat the the hell out of them in 3 games. Get it done.

I hope when I wake up on Wednesday morning, I can tell my nephew "That's Barack Obama, The President of the United States."

1 comment:

Crazypants said...

As always, you say it best.

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