“When you feel you have had it up to here, cause you mad enough to scream, and you sad enough to tear.” -from the song Rock Bottom by Eminem
Who didn’t see it coming? John McCain, a cagey twenty-six year veteran of Washington D.C. , is not afraid to go low. Last night he proved that, like an old school brawler who senses the end if he cannot catch his breath, he is a win at all cost kind of guy.
Short gasps audible through the microphone punctuated what Senator McCain had to say throughout the night, including when he tersely dismissed Senator Obama as “that one”. Mr. Obama’s expression was a combination of offense, forgiveness, and a complete lack of surprise, exactly the way I imagine Jesus would look in the same situation.
Down talking to someone is a tricky business, but when an old white man is codescending toward a bright, young black man, while being nationally televised on all three networks and the cable news channels, the going can prove especially perilous. A million years ago when McCain started his Washington career, it may have been the norm to polarize people along racial divides, but these days it does not fly in most places.
A girl that I knew back in California posted an video of some dudes who call themselves The Obama Youth on her facebook page, and declared that it was one of the most frightening things she had ever seen online. In it some young black fellows, dressed in camoflage pants and matching navy blue tee shirts stomp/march into the room chanting “Alpha/Omega” before arranging themselves into an orderly line. One after another they declare that because of Obama they are inspired to be the next “doctor, lawyer, automotive technician, chef, architect, engineer,” etc., you get the jist. At the end they all do a little yes we can cheer, combined with some synchronized movement, then a little cheer about health care, then it’s over.
Out on the campaign trail right now the GOP candidate and his running mate are whipping their conservative supporters up into a frenzy accusing Senator Obama of being a socialist who, “doesn’t see America”, as you and I do. Over on Wall Street the market is sinking like a zeppelin made of lead and Republican champions of small government cannot print the money, to prop the economy up, fast enough.
Fear is a sublime motivator, but fear can also be misplaced and exploited, so that reality becomes less important than the preconceived notions that create our frame of reference. When we deny our fears it creates a mindset where hope can begin to take root and grow. Though fear has the ability to make people jump suddenly, hope can provide the motivation to endure the unspeakable.
Never in my lifetime has the choice been so clearly defined as we head into the polls. On the one hand I can vote because I am afraid of what will happen. On the other hand I can vote because of what I hope will happen.