I’d like to say it’s all down to Daylight Savings Time. This morning is so bright and clear, with the red and yellow leaves on the trees that line these Ohio streets shockingly saturated against an almost cloudless, baby blue sky. Is this morning so marvelous merely because the sun is coming up earlier than I am accustomed to as I make my normal commute? I would like to believe that there is an emotionless and scientific reason that this morning seems so fresh and new, even after a night of too few hours of fitful sleep. It was an ugly night filled with bad dreams, dreams of a new President who is as corrupt and evil as the last, a nightmarish orchestra of vague and disturbing emotions, of fleeting images of the war and woe of the last 8 years but with a different face on its conductor. I realize now, in the light of this bright morning, that my already healthy cynicism, especially for things political, has been fed and fanned and stoked and drenched in the lighter fluid of apathy and distrust for decades, especially this last one, starting with that ridiculous witch hunt to destroy a decent leader out of spite only to replace him with a barely coherent and jabbering sock monkey who’s ground this great country into the dirt, spit on it and is stealing its wallet before leaving it to die. No, I said to myself, this morning is changed, not because of the early dawn; this morning is changed because the entire country has changed and for the first time in a very long time, there was a little chink in my cynical armor, and a little hope was oozing out.
The good, the bad and the ugly: ever since Sergio Leone directed a young Clint Eastwood in that unforgettable classic, magazines, newspapers and bloggers have used those three words to give a coherent theme to a normally bland comparison. No one can see a list of video games, lunch meats or popular buzzwords sorted into these three categories without hearing that iconic theme song whistling in their head. It’s kitschy but it works. And, like being told “I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news”, I think everyone wants to save the best for last. I think the order of good, bad and ugly should be reversed: first, give us the ugly, like the cynical nightmares of an American who’s so disillusioned with his government’s political system and has been so psychologically pummeled by negative ads and dirty campaigning for two years all while dealing with the aftermath of war, economic disaster and scandal after scandal that the current regime has propagated that, even when there is a ray of hope on the horizon, subconsciously still screams “Don’t trust him! He’s a politician”.
Throw in the bad: the fear which made watching Obama speak last night very difficult and which will permeate the author’s mind during every speech and public appearance for the next four to eight years. What the shocking footage from McCain and Palin’s rallies has instilled in me is a stomach cramping terror waiting for the shot that will take this young President’s life. If this election taught us anything about the American people, other than the majority are tired of the current regime and want a change, it’s that this country still has its share of ignorant, idiotic and racist fanatics. Because of these fools, even though I am riding on this wave of excitement, there is utter embarrassment and complete disgust for a large percentage of our population.
The good? We’ve got a new President who, if he does nothing else, at least speaks less like he’s chewing on a whiskey and Vicoden soaked sock and more like a graduate of Harvard Law School. That’s a Magna Cum Laude graduate versus the 2.35 GPA that our current President received at Yale. I think that getting Latin Honors proclaiming ‘with great praise‘ tacked onto your degree trumps ‘barely passing’ and ‘high C’ and ‘college arrest record’ by just a smidge. If Obama does do more than just talk, he seems to have good ideas for improving conditions for the middle class, which makes up the bulk of this country. If he’s not full of the kind of shit my Mr. Hyde-like cynical side is warning me about, he might just help inch this country back from the brink of the abyss. At the very least, we won’t have to hear ‘nucular’, ‘`merica’ or Sarah Motherfucking Palin nearly as much.
The ugliness of the McCain campaign was never more apparent in the stream of attack ads, facetious emails, one sided interviews and deceit which pushed people away from the once ‘Straight Talking’ and likeable man that McCain was at the start of his campaign. McCain went from being an honest, caring, dedicated hero to nothing more than a ’70 year old cancer survivor’s heartbeat’ hurdle in Palin’s Presidential run. That this man who has served this country for half a century was pressured by the GOP to ignore his own beliefs and tow the party line and then to accept Palin (I feel dirty just typing her name) as his veep, no one should wonder how, in a few short months, he went from being a likeable candidate to a psychotic mix of Burgess Meredith’s Penguin and that crazy old guy up the street who sits on his porch with a pellet gun and yells at the teenagers who walk near his lawn.
The bad thing about the Republican’s run during this election is that is showed the world just how fucked this country really is. I guess that if you are living on the side of a mountain somewhere, balls deep in some first cousin half the time, nothing but Rush and Fox as entertainment, bibles as your science texts and a mother who knits nooses and who’s teats shoot moonshine, you’re going to grow up to be a racist lunatic. I just had hoped that, like Santa Claus and Jesus, these people were more of a myth than a reality. Now I know they live not only in my state but up the damn road. The bible-thumping, epithet shouting, ignorant pissants that came out during this election like maggots bursting from a festering carcass did nothing for McCain’s campaign and everything towards making Americans look even worse to intelligent and reasonable people around the world. To the people who will shout “Who cares what the rest of the world thinks about us?”, realize that the low opinion of the US is what causes terrorist attacks on US soil in the first place. Also, realize that you are one of these ignorant douchebags.
McCain’s concession, on the other hand, was graceful, humble and well executed. His hushing of the jackasses who were booing earned my respect. After this Cavalcade of Calamity that his party and his campaign had become, this was the closest to the John McCain that had captured his party’s endorsement we’ve seen in a long time. Hopefully Obama can find a place in his cabinet for the man. Hopefully someone can find a salon in Burma that needs a nail tech for Palin.
I think that the country is exhausted. We’re broke, we’re bleeding and we’ve just had our emotions twisted and drained by a long and arduous campaign. But it’s finally over. We’ve chosen our champion. Reversing the theme, we’ve got the good: an agent of change in a time that is screaming for it. The bad part? It’s going to be a long and hard struggle and there will be enemies at every turn, threatening us as well as our leader. Our apathy got us here, we’re going to have to work twice as hard to get back out. The ugly? Bush still has time to rape and steal even more from us. The Republicans are on the mat, they are losing the reins and they are not going to hand them over happily. And Bush is the kind of person, we’ve all come to realize, that will set fire to the apartment he’s been evicted from just to spite the new tenant, with no concern for the those others who still live there.