Sunday, November 9, 2008
Intelligence in the body politic? (Damn I'm happy)
I was a little kid when the Sixties ended, and although the Seventies really was a time of bizarre, reckless optimism, I can’t say I’ve ever experienced a political moment as blissful as this past Tuesday when, for one instant, it seemed like America might actually be ready to grow up. I’ve voted for Democrats every time out of the box, but they have been such an ineffective party (excepting the Clinton charisma) for the past 28 years it's been depressing (independents are a great big dream, but akin to throwing your vote away in this two-party monolith).
I was extremely cynical and pessimistic heading into Tuesday, as I honestly don’t think this is a mature country — as far as culture, issues surrounding sex, issues surrounding race, the preservation of the human race, and (especially) intelligence. I was unsure that a majority of Americans could agree on anything aside from the fact that “we’re Number One!” Obama’s landslide surely came about because of the dire economic climate and the fact that Bush and co. have run amok with the mandate of the uncaring, apathetic mob. For the country to have actually made a statement, though, that times are indeed wretched is like stepping onto the first step of the 12-step ladder. The result is an event that is the most positive thing happen to the American Left in politics, the single greatest victory on a national level, since Nixon resigned way, way, way back in 1974.
I’m certain things will swing back, although I would hope they do not. We have too many citizens who are defiantly proud of their stupidity and narrow-mindedness. For a moment, though, it is nice to even be able to consider a future wherein we open up intellectually and emotionally, and learn that we are part of a whole, not Number One, and that’s it’s very, very reassuring to not have an Old White Guy with a defiant, belligerent attitude running the place. Intelligence has a place in government and part of me fears that Barack will be constantly, constantly confronting fear and loathing from the enormous Right Wing we have in this country, and could well become a national version of David Dinkins (so much for New York being liberal — since DD, we’ve had two of the most backward-looking bull-headed Rightists in the head slot for the city). For this moment, at this time, however, I rejoice in Obama’s intelligence and his ascent to power. Hope really is infectious.