The winter of my discontent
I should be happy. Back in November, when I decided to cast my lot for Obama, I remember exactly what I said next: If hes still on the ballot in February. Now hes all but locked up the nomination. And his opponent aint too shabby, either! At the very least, Im pretty sure that McCain wont be any worse than Bush (its a low bar, but Ill take it). I should be thrilled.
So why am I so unhappy? Lets start with how the media, less concerned with journalism than ratings, continues to lament that this primary is cataclysmic for the Democrats and traumatic for voters. How, oh, how will the Dems ever come together after all of this intelligent debate on important issues? How can they possibly heal from these months of free publicity?? My mother talks about how sick she is of this election in the same tone she uses to describe how sick she is of Rachael Rays inexplicable overexposure. Shes not the first person Ive heard make similar comments in similar tones (about the election and about Rachael Ray). It seems to me that were following this election the same way we follow American Idol: Here are a few contestants lets race em! Its entertainment! Except that its not. Entertaining, certainly, but not entertainment.
There are other things that have contributed to this Jacobean moodiness of mine.
(continued) Things I read; things I heard. Voters in West Virginia told exit pollsters that race influenced their votes. A friend from my teaching days is voting for whichever candidate has the quieter wife. My best friends mother told him that her co-worker met Barack Obama and swears that he told her hes a Muslim. In that same conversation, my best friends father wondered aloud whether Obama might be the Antichrist. My co-worker is voting McCain because shes still not convinced that Iraq didnt help orchestrate 9/11 and, as such, she doesnt think we should withdraw our troops. During brunch last Sunday, a guy at a nearby table told his date that he always just votes for the candidate who looks like hes going to win. My mother said that she was tired of hearing about McCains POW ordeal because its clear to her that hes using it to get votes. Over drinks, a friend told me that he sure likes how Obama sounds when he talks but, gee, he really hasnt said anything. My brother forwarded me an email comparing Hillary Clinton to a psycho ex-girlfriend that just wont leave you alone.
On this blog, David stabbed that poor dead horse with the flag pin Obama doesnt wear. (There are good reasons not to vote for Obama. That isnt one of them.) Another friend told me that she wont vote for a woman or an African American for a reason thats too irresponsible to write down.
These are smart people. I thought we were better than this. We are, as Peggy Noonan put it, hiring the CEO of America (love that analogy, Pegs), so of course were asking questions. Were just asking the wrong questions. Of course were thinking critically; were just thinking about the wrong things. Of course were voting our conscience; were just not educating ourselves enough to be able to trust what our conscience tells us.
I know, you like funny Meg more.