Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Collision of Fear and Hope

Eight years ago, during a bitter and divisive fight for the White House, I saw the viciousness of a small, vocal, and potentially violent cadre of extreme right-wing brownshirts emerge, gloating in victory.

My dark confession: I believe it's likely that if Al Gore had somehow come away with the 2000 electoral victory, he would have been assassinated by a lone gunman, urged on by his brownshirt brethren... even before Gore had the chance to prevent 9-11 -- which I am also quite confident he would have prevented.

The world went off its tracks in 2000 and the Republican Party -- not bin Laden nor al Qaeda -- destroyed America over the following eight years.

But then in 2004, I was astonished to watch as a total stranger gave the best political speech I'd ever seen -- even better than Cuomo's 1984 DNC keynote address or Clinton's 1999 State of the Union address -- during the keynote address of the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Everyone who cared about such things had the same thought as I: This man could become President of the United States. Followed by the next thought as an addendum to the first... he could be the first black man to become the President of the United States!

Since then, I've watched with muted excitement and amazement as Barack Obama overcame all doubts and doubters -- doubters like my own father, who said it was too early, that Obama needed a few more years in the U.S. Senate. His point? We all know the history of Democratic candidates for President, right? They only get one bite at the apple.

But relative newby that he is, Barack Obama still went for it... and became the Democratic nominee, derailing the well-deserving Clinton-Family Express, which was eager to one-up the Bush-Family Express. And in the process, Obama replaced the best political speech ever with another in Denver, even better.

During the entire Democratic Primary season, I pulled for him. But I resisted becoming too emotionally invested. Why? Because I have been deathly afraid... Remember what I said about Al Gore?

Now I am all in.

Here is a remarkable and courageous essay by New York Times columnist Frank Rich that touches all kinds of nerves with me. But also helps explain why I once was nervous and resistant to whole-heartedly joining Obama's history-making movement. Please read it. Especially if your name is John McCain.


Anonymous pansy palmetto said...

Awww! How adorable! The plaintive cry of The Lone Architect Tilting at Windmills on the Front Range. But can his voice be heard above the howling Four Winds?

I say it again: My only hope for mental sanity is that where I live the electoral college always owns MY vote. Every candidate I have ever voted for either lost BIG TIME or won BIG TIME. So even though I persist in voting, I do so knowing it is only a symbolic gesture.

12:40 PM, October 13, 2008  

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