viernes, 21 de noviembre de 2008
(Written August 2008)
As ships and underwater machines amputate the songs of whales, we (Americans) let our desperate desire for a heroic, i.e. competent president; sever our demand for rigorous journalism. If the work of the campaign strategists, speech writers, and candidates is to convince and inspire us, is it not the work of journalists to be brutally honest, to ask difficult questions? Media coverage for the coming election has been lopsided, negligent, and utterly mediocre. Candidates and their stances have been diminished to cliche slogans and archetypes: Obama, the Christ figure; McCain the battered and damaged war hero; Biden, the backdrop; Palin, the caricature. We have reached to the very edge; beyond the contiguous forty-eight to unearth the “hope” that Giuliani, and it pains me to quote him, points out is not a strategy. As I see it, Obama strategists have missed the point that blue collar workers may want access to affordable health care, but politically correct saviors do not appeal to them; and Republicans have trampled the left-overs of McCain’s soul to make him frightfully conjured. How is it we came to be in a place where any president that follows this one with any semblance of a broom will appear stellar by comparison? Amid these never-likely-to-be answered questions, blithe journalistic images waft past me. Lucky for us, baroquely covered facts are still find-able. And of course, the issues are notably complex. My optimism gladly persuades me to accept that fundamentally, all this is possible because we have not abandoned our belief in goodness. All this exists because, while we live in an imperfect nation, it is not a no man’s land and it is far from hostile to life. So, as my heart wrestles my emotions, I prepare to vote for what I believe in. I prepare to vote not Obama; not Biden; not McCain; not Palin; not Fox News; not New York Times. I prepare to vote Democrat; based on facts, plans, and policies.
Interim Epilogue (written 11/6/2008)
I am thankful that Obama has been elected; as I believe he is the best person for the job (talented, articulate, smart, and a believer in America). There is not doubt the election was a historic one. My criticism this morning is not of the president elect. It is of the response to him. I find it unnerving to hear people say things like “After Tuesday, there is hope.” I find it hard to believe this was absent before. For me, it did not take the appearance of Barack Obama on the scene for me to believe in America, in hope, and in possibility. The profound belief in these words has coursed through my veins from the time they were first uttered to me. My response is also colored by the way in which supporters have mimicked the opponent, and the narrow way in which so many “yes we can-ers (incidentally, my least favorite political speech tactic)” have been unreceptive to questions. It is our job as a people to question or leaders, even Barack Obama, and his cadre of strategic advisors. May we never take the abundance of questions ideas, and gifts, for granted.