Thursday, October 16, 2008

Too Scary for Words

Yes, this is an actual, legitimate, unphotoshopped photograph from last night's debate, showing EXACTLY what it appears to show: the decrepit old (white) Man Who Would Be President sticking his tongue out and (pretending to be?) grabbing at the ass of the handsome and articulate young (black) Man Who SHOULD Be President. And I hope this image surges through the media the same way that the Dukakis tank commander photo or Howard Dean's "Scream" did...but I doubt it will. It's the sort of photo that is easily ignored: no sound, no movement -- just a moment of still photography easily explained away as "a misdirected old man who got confused and was heading off stage in the wrong direction." Which sort of fits the overall theme of the McCain Campaign these days anyway.

I actually thought McCain did pretty well last night: didn't foam at the mouth, kept his temper, put Obama on the defensive with his carefully-crafted (and unrebuttable) innuendo, and basically seized control of both the tempo and the direction of the debate by ignoring the moderator and butting in whenever he felt like it. Played the race/age/experience card for all it was worth: a seasoned, well-tested (white) "Maverick" vs. the "eloquent," smooth-talking and good-looking but relatively unknown (and unfamiliar BLACK) "tax and spend" liberal. But at the end of the day, it was still the same old tired words out of the mouth of a washed-up, over-the-hill politician desperate for his crack at four years of unprecedented executive power.

I was, although, particularly entertained when McCain used a variation of the same line I suggested Al Gore should have used when Bush attempted to link him to the various Clinton scandals back in 2000: "that was the fella who beat your daddy; you have to run against ME." God how I wish Gore had won that election -- or should I say, fought harder to prevent the Bushies from STEALING that election. What a different world we would be living in now....

And it is still my fantasy that as George W. Bush exits the Inaugural Platform next January, it will be into the waiting arms of representatives of the World Court, who will then escort him to his holding cell in the Hague. And of course my great fear is that there will be no Inauguration -- that after the fiasco of THIS election (and God only knows what may happen next) the Bushies will fabricate some desperate excuse for holding on to power, and enforce it by military means.

Do we really want to see tanks in the streets of Washington DC? They say it could never happen here. But you know, recently I've seen a LOT of things folks said could never happen here. And while some have been good, some others have been not so good as well.

I guess a couple of other quick thoughts before I sign off, since I post here so infrequently as it is. I'm really concerned that we need not just an Obama victory, but an Obama landslide for this election to really create the mandate that Obama needs to effect meaningful change: a huge margin in both the electoral and the popular vote, plus solid majorities in both Houses, and strong showings in local elections as well. We need to sweep aside every last remnant of Karl Rove's vision of a "permanent Republican majority," and reinstate the more tolerant and diverse "liberal" family values based on civility, mutual concern, and the larger public good.

But beyond that, we will be laying a tremendous burden of expectation upon the shoulders of a single individual -- more than any one individual can possibly bear, I think. And so we all need to be willing to step up and to sacrifice in order to create the change we need. Sacrifice = to make sacred. It's OK if we all share it. But the plutocratic "croney capitalism" of the past eight years has GOT to end. And steps need to be taken to return that unprecedented concentration of wealth back to ALL the American people, so that it might be used for the common good.

And at the same time, given the Bush administration's unapologetic attempts to concentrate power in the hands of the Executive Branch, and the apparent NEED for that kind of power the next administration will claim it needs in order to undo the mess the Bushies have created, is there ANY politician on the Planet who could possibly be convinced to LET GO of that power once the essential tasks have been accomplished. We need a Cincinnatus, and not a Caesar. George Washington understood that. I think even Michael Dukakis did. But do you really think that Sarah Palin has even a CLUE to what I'm talking about?