Monday, February 04, 2008
highwayscribery on Super Tuesday
Barack Obama gave highwayscribery something to do again.
This Web log was launched as outlet for frustration at our national acquiescence before Bush administration travesties.
For almost three years highwayscribery peppered poems and literature around rants against the criminal administration, until others caught up.
And then the blog went silent in November. The pyrrhic victory which saw the administration rendered history's worst, brought no reward other than having been right about something that was terribly wrong.
Now there was a mess to clean up and highwayscribery, whatever its virtues, was in no position to handle that job.
At the same time, in that hopelessness like-minded people were feeling, Sen. Barack Obama's walk through Iowa began to take on a resonance. His word began to catch-on in that strangest of places for an African-American to try his fortune.
Today, Rudy Giuliani, who knew he'd never fly in that Midwestern bastion of homespun values, is out, his attempt at niche-marketing a presidential campaign dead. And another guy who had every reason to believe the same about his road show has gone national, threatening to overturn the candidacy of a former president's wife, with a celebrity all her own.
Barack Obama has made the highway scribe feel like a kid again. Willing to embarrass himself once more. Game for getting behind someone and taking the hits as the years in power unspool. Ready to be soiled by the dirty business of trying to make our world clean.
In a lovely Op-ed, "Obama vs. the Phobocracy," Michael Chabon, author of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay," (which we read and loved) and more recenty, "The Yiddish Policemen' s Union" (which we haven't) has expressed the same willingness to stare down the cynics who will be right, in their sad way, but wrong because of their reasons.
Chabon places the tragedy of our country not on George W. Bush, but upon ourselves for letting in the "serpents and liars," for exchanging our "shining ideals for a handful of nails and some two-by-fours," for submitting to our fears.
The most pitiable fear of all, he wrote, "is the fear of disappointment, of having our hearts broken and our hopes dashed by this radiant, humane politician who seems not just with his words, but with every step he takes, simply by the fact of his running at all, to promise so much for our country, for our future and for the eventual state of our national soul. I say 'pitiable' because this fear of disappointment, which I hear underlying so many of the doubts that people express to me, is ultimately a fear of finding out the truth about ourselves and the extent of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into. If we do fight for Obama, work for him, believe in him, vote for him, and the man goes down to defeat by the big-money machines and the merchants of fear, then what hope will we have left to hold on to?"
Which is the only point worth arguing here.
Of Obama's qualifications we might add that there is nothing "inexperienced" about being 46-years-old. Your elders begin to lean on you and your children clamor for answers and resources, while your body begins its betrayal.
Obama has spurred the glacial pace of this scribe' s maturity. Made it okay to look at a man his very age and admit he is made of better stuff, built sturdier, blessed with a quicker mind. Made it a thrill, rather than some kind of self-pitying defeat.
We do not "endorse" Obama under the pretense that highwayscribery has influence as a media outlet.
Instead we lend our voice to swelling numbers who in recent days have decided in favor of this, to quote Chabon again, "at once brilliant and sensible, vibrant and measured, engaged and engaging, talented, forthright, quick-witted, passionate, thoughtful and, as will all remarkable people experience has taught both the extent and the bitter limits of their gifts, reasonably humble," candidate.
We ask you to put aside your gender, your loyalty to union, philosophy, institution, party, and even your country in making a vote for your own tremendous and endangered world.
If you live and plan to vote in one of the "Super Tuesday" primary states, we ask you to grow your country, to tend an olive branch to the world and, rather than follow Obama blindly, vote as a marker on your expectations of him.
The challenge is not to vote for the senator and pat him "fare thee well" on the back and off to Washington. It is to stand by Obama for the duration of his fight, to help him bend the will of the dead souls who have made a nest of the people's house.
Can we do that together? Obama says "Yes we can" (to music.)