Campaigns/Elections

Congrats to Obama, and a Cheery Note to Everyone Else Too

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Congratulations to president-elect Barack Obama, whose historic victory, however certain it seemed in the final phase of this campaign, is actually a testament to a very sharp and determined candidate. Like a lot of people who has no dog in the fight between Republocrats and Demicans, I have no shortage of worries about Obama in the White House but I do hope the one clear potential—an end to an odious racial discourse that has always poisoned America since the colonial days—comes through in a huge way.

And here's hoping everything else works out better thany any of us hopes.

In the meantime, and especially for those who were not Obamaniacs, I commend Brian Doherty's great column from 2004 in which he pals around with Bush-haters right after John F. Kerry's heart-rending (to some, even some not named Kerry) defeat:

Apocalyptic Democracy: Life goes on, long after the pain of the election is gone

You may be lucky enough to live in a community of discourse where you haven't noticed, but let me tell you: Some people are very, very upset about the results of the election last week….

Consider my own post-election ritual. I went on tour with an absurdist touring cabaret, 25 or so of us in a converted Green Tortoise bus going from San Francisco to Portland and Seattle and back. Once, at a gas station off the 5 somewhere north of San Fran, a small town cop circled us for a while suspiciously while we gassed up, but we were otherwise unhassled. No internal passports, no one asked for our papers. We entered freely into deals with sellers of diesel, lodging, sandwiches, and beer. We met friendly, amusing, and interesting people, hundreds of whom paid $7 to watch us amuse ourselves with a series of lunatic acts playing hard-but-fair with decades of America's indigenous cheap medicine show, sideshow, and musical traditions.

We visited old waterworks in Seattle and museums of Asian culture. We stood on a hill near the Gasworks in Seattle, watching seaplanes land and private sailboats glide and with some inexpensive imported Japanese keyboard technology enjoyed an impromptu singalong of some classic American popular song from the '20s to the '60s while rolling around on grassy hills. (A plaque at the Gasworks informed us, grimly, that even though we can now produce certain coal fuels synthetically, this doesn't mean it's OK for men not to serve in the military. Really.)

We had snowball fights near Mt. Shasta. We bought six-shot espresso drinks and Italian sodas with cream near Grant's Pass, Oregon, just after sunrise. We were, among others, an old Japanese man obsessed with American cowboy song, a young American woman raised by urban artists riffing on '80s dance styles, a former Clinton White House press worker, a German videographer, an expert card trickster from the Midwest, a central figure in a comedic cult religion, a hard-driving punk rock used car salesman turned barkeep, an aging Australian blue heeler, and one cranky libertarian journalist.

We all got along swimmingly along the highways and byways of this great land. Hardly any of us mentioned the election. (I did get an opportunity to do a version of my why I don't vote rap, but in the spirit of friendly bantering camaraderie, not enemy-making ideological conflict) It was sweet, and fun, and gave me many of those brilliant and touching and intense moments that make life seem like a good idea.

Only in America? I don't know, but in America, yes, whoever is president. We are rich, richer than any people in history. (Yes, even most of our poor.) The possibilities of a joyful life are all around us. I say sincerely to people whose political ideologies I find sometimes horrifying: it's a damn shame to let something like the results of an election ruin your chance to enjoy the myriad possibilities of life-real life, not political life-in these United States.

Whole thing, well worth reading, here.

NEXT: Green Herring

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  1. Looks like Barr barely cracked Badnarik’s numbers.

    How’re them smarmy ex-CIA pragmatists working for you, LP?

  2. Ohhh, we’re still going to peddle the race business, don’t worry.

  3. So much for the LP’s idea of choosing someone “electable”.

  4. it’s a damn shame to let something like the results of an election ruin your chance to enjoy the myriad possibilities of life-real life, not political life-in these United States.

    I agree wholeheartedly. Instead of worrying over my current state of joblessness, I’m heading out to the pool on this bright and sunny South Florida morning with an old paperback copy of Dune, first read in 1976, I think. It’s still remarkably brilliant after all these years. Exotic drugs, murder, intrigue, mysticism that often makes sense…far more interesting than the post-election analysis. I’m outta here.

  5. The Negros appear quite happy around here.

    Something happen?

  6. The racial healing would be a great result if it were to happen. But more likely, after four years of mega-welfare, the racial divide will be even wider. It sucks that the first black president will be a failed black president.

  7. Thanks Mr. Gillespie I am still terrified, but this helps put things into perspective.

  8. Thank you Nick, those are words of wisdom indeed.

  9. an end to an odious racial discourse that has always poisoned America since the colonial days

    Ahh if only it were true. Personally I feel this is just the beginning. Unfortunately until we learn to point out each others differences and fallacies without accusations of hate and playing the minority card we won’t be past this. I have felt for many years now that it is mostly liberals fault. They are the least liberal minded people I know. Quite frankly if we were really past racism, sexism, ageism (and all other ism’s) Barack Obama’s race, religion, sex wouldn’t matter. Furthermore we would be able to joke, make fun, or praise without fear of being called out on discrimination.

    In brighter news though.

    it’s a damn shame to let something like the results of an election ruin your chance to enjoy the myriad possibilities of life-real life, not political life-in these United States.

    I couldn’t agree more here. Time to go out and celebrate. Light up a joint, drink some brew, do whatever you do that makes you happy and enjoy life.

  10. Gotta say it was touching to see Jesse Jackson tear up last nite. Say what you will about him, but he ain’t no Sharpton and has certainly been thru a lot. Can only imagine what he must’ve felt like to see a fellow African-American finally get elected. Ditto with other civil rights leaders who have lived to witness this fine spectacle of American history.

    Anyway congrats to Obama and condolences to McCain. Too bad one of ’em had to lose.

  11. ‘Tis a “bitter” morning for us small town unsophisticates. But I intend to put it behind me and do some things I enjoy. I’m going to buy a new gun to shoot critters with and attend a service at my Bible church. I’m feeling a bit “clingy” today.

  12. Too bad one of ’em had to lose.

    Too bad one of ’em had to win, I say.

    But overall, I agree with the general sentiment of the OP.

  13. Don’t worry, I’m still here to promote racism and victimology! It’s my business!

  14. Hey, me too!

  15. Isaac, I just thought I’d be serious for once. I’m sure we could’ve had better candidates.

  16. Ah, fuck it all. I’m going to go get drunk. After work.

  17. Racial healing ain’t gonna happen. A black Democrat in the White House gives an even greater incentive and unlimited opportunities to the usual race hustlers to play the race card. The resentment generated by this will result in, at best, no change in the racial atmosphere.

    Gotta say it was touching to see Jesse Jackson tear up last nite. Say what you will about him, but he ain’t no Sharpton.

    I would agree. Jackson has taken a much more sophisticated and lucrative line of racial extortion.

  18. I will give credit where credit is due. Obama has performed two great services to the country. He prevented a Hillary Clinton presidency, and he put Jesse Jackson and his ilk out of business.

    -jcr

  19. an end to an odious racial discourse that has always poisoned America since the colonial days

    Keep dreaming. The race card’s payoff just got a whole lot bigger. Leftwing racebaiting assholes are going to be slinging that thing around like it’s going out of style.

  20. Wasn’t Jackson the one who said Obama’s balls should be cut off when he thought the mike was off?

  21. JCR,
    Prove that Obama has put Jesse Jackson and his ilk out of business. And that Hillary Clinton will never come back.

  22. an end to an odious racial discourse that has always poisoned America since the colonial days

    Nick, have you written anything that would elaborate on why you think this is a reasonable possibility? It’s like you had some kind of implicit contract in mind that certain people would vote for Obama if other people would stop talking about certain things. Don’t be surprised when it turns out that agreement was unilateral.

  23. C’mon, Ol’ Jesse was tearing up at the thought that he’d never get to be Da Prez.

    Kevin

  24. kevrob,
    What makes you think this means ol’ Jesse will never become da prez? I mean, anything new?

  25. I just hope that the nausea-inducing Obama worship dies down after a few days.

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