Thursday, October 16, 2008

What is Wrong with this Country?

I’m greatly relieved that the election, at this point, looks like a blowout for Obama. I find the enthusiasm for Obama to be a heartwarming spectacle.

I’m guessing that a blowout in this case would be, in terms of popular vote, a 10% victory for Obama. This would mean a vote tally of 55% for Obama, 45% for McCain.

What this means is, that after 8 years of the most unpopular president in history (who, like McCain, is a Republican), who got us into needless war, who wrecked the economy, who condoned torture, who spies on his own citizenry, who turned his own country into an embarrassment for anybody more intelligent than a loaf of bread, and then you take the most lame-ass ticket in recent memory (a mentally unstable sleazepuppy whose mental powers are rapidly fading, and his running mate, the Den Mother from Hell), and still, despite all that, fully 45% of the country is going to vote for McCain! This is cause for drop-jaw amazement!

But then again, not really... the right-wing propaganda machine has done its work very well for several generations now. And there is another factor which I never see mentioned – the systematic abandonment of “meat and potatoes” America by the cultural creatives – those of us who are more intelligent and creative than average. The years since World War II offered unprecedented opportunities for self-actualization, which often meant leaving the traditional culture behind. How stifling to remain trapped within a culture in which people aren’t even capable of recognizing you for who you are, when an entire galaxy of opportunities awaits the more adventurous! That was certainly true in my case, and I’m sure many of you could share your own stories of questing into the unknown while leaving the old ways behind.

The upshot is America as we see it today – an amazingly creative liberal minority, and another minority, substantially larger, that is actually moving backwards into racism, fear, and hatred.

Forty years ago – 1968 – was probably the most turbulent year in recent American history. Martin Luther King was assassinated. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. The Vietnam War was spiraling out of control. Our cities were burning from coast to coast. Like many Baby Boomers my age, 1968 was a watershed year in my life. But despite all the problems, I was confident that -- at the very least -- we idealistic young people could create a vibrant counterculture that could, in time, turn the whole thing around.

Now, standing on the cusp of old age, surveying the wreckage of my idealistic dreams, I find myself scratching my head in wonderment and asking, what in the hell happened to this freaking country? We could have had a really good thing going – I certainly gave it my best shot -- and now look! Shiva the Destroyer has proven to be a worthy adversary.

But once again, Hope springs eternal... this time in the guise of a skinny black dude, friendly and well-spoken, the epitome of cool. I’ll be voting for Obama not so much for Obama himself (though he is as worthy a candidate as America will allow), but to show solidarity with his millions of enthusiastic followers. I hope they win, I hope they win big, and I hope they can turn this thing around. But I have absolutely no doubt that an Obama presidency will prove to be a very sobering experience for all of us. But be that as it may, I will always honor idealism and enthusiasm whenever I see it... because ultimately, that’s all we have.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent Gordon.... I like the balance on the blade you spoke of earlier.... You're a very funny and insightful writer.... Keep up the great work....


10:27 AM  
Blogger Neil Solberg said...

Looking at the statistics now, Obama 51%, McCain say "what is wrong with this country," with much more anger and and confusion. 48%? Seriously? What is wrong with us?

2:26 PM  

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