Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Yes, I Did...or "A Promise Called America"

Yesterday I voted in the Minnesota Caucus. It really ended up being very anticlimactic. I spent all day getting myself pumped, high on the drug that is Obama’s soaring rhetoric; left work early; drove to my precinct; cast my vote in what was, honestly, a very disorganized caucus; then went home. There wasn’t even any decent news coverage to watch until 11. It turns out I really needn’t have even shown up, since everybody except the kitchen sink voted for Obama in Minnesota.

I did have a TV moment as I was putting my ballot in the box: this cute girl and I were putting our ballots in at the same time; our hands touched; and we looked up at each other, and smiled. Then (as aforementioned) I turned around and went home. That’s the part they usually don’t show you on TV.

I’m not going to pretend I’m not a little disappointed in myself for getting all swept up in the Obama craze. Particularly the little things, like this video. I genuinely find myself inspired by Obama because wrote a song to one of his speeches. "Oh my god, yes, we CAN!" And I don’t trust that about myself.

But here’s the thing about Obama. Maybe he’s inexperienced and untested. Maybe he’s naïve. But when he opens his mouth, I believe. I want to follow him. And that, really, is one of the most fundamental attributes of a true leader. That’s how I’m justifying it to myself, anyway. As they say on (where else?) The West Wing, a leader without followers is just a guy taking a walk.

Listening to Obama’s speeches, I’ve begun to appreciate how easy it must be being his speechwriter. I mean, yes, the hours are terrible, and the pay is even worse. And apparently the kid who does it has no time to meet girls, so he can’t reap the most obvious benefit of his inspiring rhetoric. So in that sense, it must be a very hard job. But in terms of final work product? I enjoy Obama’s speeches, so I’m not knocking them, but I can be honest with myself. You take one part Broad Sweeping Statement, two parts triumphalism, add a dash of purple prose, and voila!, you got yourself a political speech:

Before there were the partisans and the pundits, the naysayers and the cynics, there was a promise: a promise handed down to us by the hard toil of our Fathers; a promise they called “America.” Today we take another step forward down the long road that leads to the fulfillment of their dream and the salvation of their struggles, in our pursuit of that fundamental promise: the promise we all call "America."

In closing, here are some of my growing concerns as Obama gains serious momentum:

1. Obama ends up winning the Presidency and becomes unable to deliver on any of his promises, thereby securing his place beside my ex-girlfriend as the World’s Greatest Bullshitter.

2. Obama is assassinated.

I’m sure just by putting the words “Obama” and “assassinate” in the same sentence, this post will be flagged by Langley.


Anonymous Jenny said...

You should write more of that speech.

12:11 AM  

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