Monday, October 27, 2008

The Old Dominion -- Part II

On Election Day, 2004, 'Pockets, some random tween-age boy, and I personed the Kerry table outside an Ann Arbor voting precinct. The air was cold and rife with hope. The exit polling leaked onto blogs early in the day and suggested wild possibilities -- notably, Virginia was tilting to Kerry. It is true -- as the aforementioned 'Pockets, blogger E, reader Owen and others will tell you-- that I had succumbed to the notion that Senator Kerry would dethrone the President that day. In fact I visited my feelings of hope on any and all and infected them duly. Of course, as we know, Virginia fell to the rogues that night --a full 8% margin eventually separated right from wrong -- and with it Ohio and anything that mattered. The taste of defeat, I have been told, was all the more bitter because of my evangelism. Kerry was a false prophet, and I spoke his gospel a bit too well. I had convinced even myself.

We now sally forth to a new election day, to a new dawn backlit by a supernova. The President is as marginal a lame duck as there has ever been. Prognosticators seem only interested in predicting how wide Senator Obama's margin of victory will be. I know I have been hesitant in these e-pages to embrace the New Testament that David Axelrod and the Obama Campaign have written in Obama's honor. I have resisted the notion that the obvious and remarkable symbolism of his potential victory is tantamount to substantive change. But I now publicly retreat from this position; While I believe Obama faces immense challenges in his first term and will have to make difficult choices that, at best, will serve to mitigate our national losses, not extend our gains, I can no longer deny the import of what he symbolizes. My former students, elementary school children in the Bush years, may just approach adulthood under the aegis of a man whose story and whose complexion are the same as theirs. This alone will not realign the systematic racism that impedes their progress, but it is a beginning.

I marvel at how this beginning came to be. When Senator Obama, and -- credit where credit is due -- Howard Dean spoke of a 50-state strategy, of abandoning the paradigm of post-Civil-Rights-era politics, I thought them neophytes in the tradition of the Democratic Party. But now, it would appear that New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Montana, one of the Dakotas, and, undeniably, Virginia are ripe for the picking. Bravo to them.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. There is time still for defeat to be snatched from the jaws, nay, the esophagus of victory. But whether or not the final results speak it, the electorate has changed already in myriad ways. We have rejected the glib and pointless Governor of Alaska; we have rejected the demented and desperate schizophrenic Senator from Arizona. They are the Rosencranz and Guildenstern of our unfolding Hamlet. They are bit players, but this is not to say they are necessarily losers.

You see, this election is not about them, or the Economy or Iraq. On November 4th we will take stock of only one thing: exactly how bigoted our country really is. This election will measure that and that alone. Should the polls reflect reality, we will have something to celebrate. However, should our fear of black male power, should our collective anti-Muslim hysteria, guide our choice, we will not. If Obama loses, none of what I have said above is undermined, but hope will be a hard sell down the road, and bigotry will rule the day and days to come.

So on Election Day, once again, I will turn to my home state, my beloved Old Dominion, and watch with bated breath. Virginia brought indentured servitude to colonial America, laying the foundation for the slave trade. Now it has an opportunity to atone for its sins -- and it will. I resist predicting an outright Obama win, but that much I am willing to say.

ps -- The fish pictured is a wahoo.


Anonymous said...


Should The top management of the Public listed company be responsible for the company performance, eg company nearly get wind up? It hit almost everyone, no divison.....

Are you a Partisan?

Should they give their view......? Any regulation to prevent similiar thing from happen?

If any party did not give their views, send it to their supporter to question them....

E said...

i totally agree with anonymous.

Heidi said...

can we have an addendum to your "most inevitable post ever" ? i finished the wire and revisited your comparisons, which were good.

who is palin? i've thought about this for a good five minutes, and my vote is mrs. wee-bey brice (not just cos she's a woman). both are trying to whip the country/namond into doing the old, wrong thing (bigotry & fear-mongering/pre-teen drug dealing), when clearly we/he are ready to move past that and toward a better future (embracing obama/getting an education).

seriously, have you thought about this very important question? the election is in less than a week!

Jbell said...

Not to nitpick at your pretty speech, but isn't Virginia a commonwealth?

And Heidi, can I have a normal sentence, please?

cold4thestreets said...

Indeed, Justin. And so is Massachusetts. And Texas is a republic. Who's saying any different?

Heidi, You raise a good point. I will take it under consideration. Mrs. Price could work--though she's a pretty minor character-- and I'm not quite sold on your doing the wrong thing vs. the right thing theory. That said, I can't think of anyone better off the top of my head.

One possibility is Beadie Russell, of course. She's a small time port authority officer who stumbles into a major story line through sheer dumb luck. Eventually, she becomes a player on Daniels' team. Too much too fast? And doesn't she look great in those suits? Though her promotion seems like a big gamble, it breathes new life into the team, and hell, she shows some policing acumen. But ultimately her role goes nowhere. She fizzles out in subsequent seasons. Eventually, she's just a pretty face in tank tops without a meaty role.

But look out. When the Wire's campaign drew to a close, it wasn't fan favorites McNulty, Omar, and Bubbles who found renewed life. It was Beadie with her incredible, Oscar-nominated turn in Gone, Baby, Gone, and her co-starring role on The Office.

Jbell said...

you called it a state, that's all. choose one or the other, you can't have it both ways.

sarah said...

No way, Beadie is far too nice! I love Wee-bey's mom so I like any excuse to read about her character, but I think the more sensible character is Nerese, the head of the City Council who will do anything to be mayor. She's gorgeous and so you assume she might be nice and harmless, but then she's actually very sneaky and political, playing off Clay Davis but only when it could benefit her, and very soon it's clear she is only looking out for her own career.

Second choice for me might be Avon Barksdale's sister, who trades off her own son for her own success and prosperity. Kinda like Sarah and Bristol maybe?