Friday, November 7, 2008

Some post-election thoughts


It wasn't by design, it just worked out that way. I was following the election night coverage primarily online. I had the TV on in the background mainly on MSNBC but channel-cruised every now and then. After they called Ohio for Obama/Biden, I knew that the national result was pretty-much a formality and got even more preoccupied with the Indiana outcome (which was a nail-biter all night). And so it was that I happened to channel-flip, purely by chance, at the correct time and land on Comedy Central just a few minutes before Jon Stewart looked into the camera and said, " eleven o’clock Eastern Standard Time, the President of the United States is Barack Obama".

It occurred to me only the next morning that it was altogether appropriate that I heard that historic pronouncement from Stewart and Colbert, as their shows have done more for the causes of truth and journalistic integrity than any major news outlet over the past eight years. Like most people who followed the results that night, I will never forget where I was or how I felt at that historic moment when the race was called in favor of Obama/Biden. The way it worked out, I don't have that memory tainted by the voice of some corporate shill masquerading as a journalist. The voice that brought me that sweet, historic, news was the same one that had consistently fought, in its own way, on behalf of the American public---at a time when most prominent professional journalists had sold out the public trust. The fact that I derive such satisfaction from having heard this historic news from Stewart and Colbert---hosts of parody/satire shows---will also forever keep the record of Dubi-ya's presidency (and of the fourth estate, during that time) in proper perspective in my memory. Sometimes, things just work out so well by pure chance---I am particularly glad for the way that one worked out.

I saved Obama/Biden campaign paraphernalia because I view them as beautiful pieces of history that I want to preserve. I don't think I'll save any newspapers from Nov.5th though. I don't think any of them reported the truth well enough over the past eight years to have earned that privilege. Well, maybe I'll save a copy of the NYTimes if I can get my hands on it. Maybe, but I'm not even sure of that.

I don't give McCain any credit for his concession speech. I see that a lot of people were falling over themselves to comment about how gracious he was and how that was the real McCain and all that bullshit. Stop it. What the hell else was he going to say? He'll probably want to be a senator for another 4 terms (like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms both of whom, from the tone of his campaign, were evidently his role models) and so he does the politically necessary and expedient thing and appears magnanimous and bipartisan after having his ass handed to him. Big fucking deal.

I think McCain showed his character (or the lack of it) during the race itself when he consistently tried to portray Obama as a radical, dangerous and un-American candidate. There is no redemption for that. It was comical to watch the crowd during his concession---for a while they booed and jeered at anything gracious, and McCain had a hard time quieting them. For months, he ran a campaign that portrayed Obama as a commie terrorist who was dangerous for America, so is it a surprise that the people who drank that Kool Aid by the bucket are damn near-uncontrollably hostile toward the new president-elect? Not that I am exonerating his legions of ignorant and bigoted followers of their personal responsibility in being assholes, but McCain now shoulders some of the responsibility for the bigotry and divisiveness in this country. Of course, Palin advanced the 'bigotry and ignorance' platform exceptionally well, but again, without McCain recklessly giving her this national stage she would have only been an insignificant minor-leaguer (single-A at best) instead of becoming the current big-league all-star of the bigotry/ignorance trailer-trash league.


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Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde said...

Funny about Stewart. We watched them almost exclusively during the 04 election, which was good because if I'd been watching any other channel I'd have offed myself early in the evening.

We, alas, chimed into the New Era with Wolf Blitzer, who always reminds me of that nasty boss guy on Alias.

Agreed on McCain getting no credit. You get credit for grace under pressure, not grace under irrelevance. Lagging in the polls, he had nothing but nastiness to bring...and that fake-wounded crack about how Obama hadn't repudiated Lewis's statement. Give me a fucking break. Anyhow, now McCain is hated EVEN MORE by the entire Senate than going into this, so I'm thinking retirement at the end of his term, if not before.

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