Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nothing Coherent Comes This Way

I apologize in advance for the rant that is to follow. Don't bother making sense of it. Not gonna happen.

I should probably credit/blame Andrew Sullivan for inspiring this. It was this post that started this "stream of consciousness" yesterday. Indeed, I have been feeling this as well, but I started thinking deeper.

Many, like myself, have become not just engaged in the process, but emotionally invested in a candidate (In my case, Barack Obama) this year. Personally, the post-Iowa high was something that I might not experience again for awhile in American politics. Conversely, I was amazed at my anger and sadness post-New Hampshire. The rest of the primary season has been full of this roller-coaster of emotions, perhaps culminating in Jeremiah Wright.

Now, as we all ponder (Or watch others ponder) whether Obama can truly overcome Jeremiah Wright or if it is all too late, a step back. Ultimately, that question will resolve itself, and the answer will reveal quite a bit about not just Sen. Obama but about where we are, politcally and culturally, as a nation. But we'll save that discussion for another post.

Have we all lost our senses and perspectives this yr.? As an informed college grad. and a liberal, I'm supposed to focus only on issues and policy. After all, personality was a significant factor in electing George W. Bush twice, and I have little use for his Presidency. So, when I see the humanity in Obama (Sully points out that, unlike Clinton and most pols., he's clearly no robot. His soul still, to some extent, exists for all of us to see), should I not just say, "Been there, done that?" I probably should, but I don't. For me, it is his humanity, COMBINED with his ability to analyze events in a cool way and his intellect that attracts me to him (along with Iraq and other issues).

But, from an even more human level, is this at all healthy? The Month of May and the festivities surrounding the Indianapolis 500 are about to begin. The Cavaliers are in the midst of a playoff run. Oh yeah, and I SHOULD be looking for more freelance work. That would be what any normal human being with my interests would care about.

And it isn't that I don't care about these things. I'm looking forward to seeing how May develops, with the first post-merger 500. I'll be blogging heavily about it. And yet...

And yet, I feel partially distracted by this political race. Why? For God's sake, they're just politicians, inc. Obama! Maybe its time to just totally back out.

But that seems like a copout. Which brings me back to the essence of Barack Obama, and the times in which we live. For if you believe that this is simply another "interesting moment" in American history, then the very idea of Barack Obama is silly. If you believe that the current political system (Freak Show and all) is flawed, but still solid, then Obama is ridiculous.

But, given the Iraq debacle, Bush incompetence, Congressional incompetence, and the issues we face (the decline of American moral leadership, how to end US involvement in Iraq, healthcare, energy, and climate change, to name a few), I believe we're in a "pivot" moment, one in which we allow the status quo to do nothing, or one in which we finally deal with these things directly. We either allow the perpetuation of Boomer pathologies to engulf us all and embrace the Freak Show, or we say "Goodbye To All That." In such a moment, I find Barack Obama to not just be preferrable, but almost vital.

No, he cannot and will not solve everything. He is, in the end, just a politician. But I believe his approach to problems and, most of all, other people (including political opponents) is absolutely vital.

So, no, I cannot just totally back away from this. I care too damn much. Should others follow my lead? Probably not to my degree. Really, try to stay normal. But, at the same time, NEVER be afraid of giving a damn. For too long, too few of us have really cared enough, allowing the current governing class to get away with doing nothing. Will you get disappointed? Hell yes. Will you get angry? Absolutely. But that is the natural way of a tough political process.

Just, you know, try to have a life during the whole thing ;).

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