Last night was a night of firsts… To celebrate I decided to create a first of my own here at Sparkplug and ask my old friend, Charlie McKee, founder of Bakka Books and native son of the great state of Virginia, to share his thoughts on last night’s election. What follows are Charlie’s thoughts as the evening progressed.
Thanks again Chuck.
At first I thought I was a simple observer … sitting in my Canuck home way out here in wacky Bennet-Land (New Westminister, B.C.), munching snacks like some driven soul caught up in the ritual of the US election (really, the only reality show I approve of … elections), nervous as heck simply because of all the implications of what-if’s and … oh, why bother … everyone with half a brain must have been feeling like myself, not just here in Canada, but worldwide.
The first results came in for a few states … and I was left wondering how CNN or anyone could extrapolate projections from 0% returns and polling voters after they left the stations. I simply refused to accept the figures all evening, at least until some valid numbers started to appear that could be matched with districts and past voting tendencies of same … when the bastards pulled a trick on all of us baby boomers …
CNN brilliantly had a hologram reporter show up in their main broadcast center from thousands of miles away … and that, my friends, was when it hit me … this is the future and relax … Obama will win and the world will change that little bit maybe … the bit we need to really help us believe that yeah … maybe we can hold the crooks to account, buy normal priced toilet seats and hammers, and even … okay … I daydreamed … amazing how thoughts of world hunger actually being dealt with, successful education of children free from the hateful ideas that so often tear our world apart before our eyes at times …. and over and over the kids at CNN kept punching out the usual numbers … all well coated with pundit sauce and graphical interfacing up the proverbial arse … seems we are all easily made insensitive by the huge amount of input being thrown at us … well …
I’m almost 61 … originally raised in Virginia in a split Catholic/Baptist home (which meant we occasionally were taken to Mass on Sundays or to the local park to fly kites … all depending on Dad’s judgement that Catholics just don’t do enough singing in church, and better not take you to a Baptist church, Mom’d kill him, so he took us to fly kites sometimes instead … neat … now that’s religion I can live with … kite flying!!).
My whole elementary school career was spent first in a Catholic school till grade 6, then plunged into the heathen public school system for Jr. High for 7-8, then on to high school for 9, 10, 11, 12 … they all fall down.
Sorry … my point slipped from my mind for a moment … the point is … I was a white kid, poor white trash (being in the somewhat poor class) who luckily was slightly insane. For some reason I could see through things … well, ideas in any case (unless presented as an prose algebra problem) … so even though my path kinda bumped into and tripped me into my HS’s Young Republicans Club and or found myself actually going door to door for Goldwater … for some reason, I was feeling more like an observer…
Elementary school … JFK running, me raised a Catholic mostly, surrounded by nuns and good Catholic kids, remember well being publicly humiliated by the nun/teacher making me stand and say who I was (ie: my folks were) voting for/supporting … knowing full well a ill-informed kid like me was mostly spouting what I was told at home and in the heavy Republican media of the time … anyway, the kids had a good laugh and I still can feel The Outsider to this day.
Maybe that was one of the elements that helped me along …
I mean, what else would have contributed to a buddy and me sitting in the back of the bus in a small college town in Virginia’s Appalachian foothills, thinking it would be neat to make it necessary for the black folks to sit up front for a change instead of marching like well-drilled captives to the rear like good black folks should, leaving the front and middle for the white folks.
We didn’t realize the pain caused in the faces of several older ladies, who mechanically strolled to the rear and found they had no choice but to move to the front … a sin? … didn’t realize that our thought “good deed” would not be what it was meant to be.
Whatta’ couple of dumb asses we were … (thanks Red, ie: 70’s Show)
And now the point … finally … but needed to relay that what occurred next while watching the final moments before the projected win announcement has it’s roots in a world I unconsciously fought against all my life … the finely woven threads of racism, fear of the unknown, and just plain lack of understanding of facts … I was in a battle with all that and still am.
A continuous up/down emotional ride all night … wanting to see some strong tangible evidence that Obama was actually going to win … but seeing the small return amounts matched to the counts and thinking it could all be snatched away so easy in the blink of an eye … well, I got a small migraine …
By final projected win time, my brain was mush, my eyes were staring in real disbelief, figuring “It was really to early to call, guys!!”, but boy would it be nice if it did turn out that way …
Then John McCain gave a speech of concession that was so good, if he had been able to do that during the campaign … well, who knows … one felt sad for him … but nothing could keep the feeling that maybe Obama did win after all … really … yes … really win … and my brain ceased to work while it settled in on the new reality.
And the only damned thing that came to mind was … so much for literate education … “WOW! It is true!!”
Waiting for Obama to speak, mundane thoughts like “What can he say that will equal to the occasion, this real historic moment … what could he possible say?”
But he did it … CNN cameras panned and stopped on … no not Oparh … but on the Rev himself … Jessie Jackson … a politician I don’t always agree with mainly due to his abrasive Cashius Clay way of speaking … and he was crying … and the rear of the bus in college came back, and the jumble of many timelines seemed to crash … and yep, I cried.
I wasn’t jumping up and down. I cried. Scared for Obama. Scared for America. Hoping that they have finally begun grow out of all of our old concepts of letting dreams stay well behaved and only a entertainment while keeping a class system in place no one wanted to admit existed.
That’s not true … well, not a true representation of what happened tonight at that moment … it was all feelings … there was little thought involved. It didn’t have words or time to let it settle into a story or paragraph to make it sound oh so whatever. No, the time was just feelings … and much like seeing an eclipse of the sun, words just don’t cut it.
I was impressed. I was happy. I was already realizing that there would be little sleep for me tonight … instead my mind is racing over all the possibilities, the how/where/when/why questions of how a country can face the bucket load Bush has left for the next crew to clean up or fob off.
Strange … most folks clean up their campsite before leaving, so the next folks can enjoy a pristine experience from the get go … but in “real life”, seems the common knowledge platform is “everyone for him/herself”.
Ah, Peter, there is so much more … and frankly I’d like to go see my dvd-rw disk of the Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert Indecision 2008 Special recorded for my bedtime story … always try to have a laugh before beddy-bye.
Are we baby boomers ever spoiled?