Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm an America-hating liberal

I’ve been reluctant to write about the election results, but it’s so momentous I just can’t help myself. Of course, I’ll leave the heavy lifting to deeper thinkers and get right down to business with the points the paid pundits always overlook.

• I’ve been getting to see what I looked like eight years ago after George W. Bush was elected. A Republican bar buddy of mine was moaning that he was convinced the world was about to end. I tried to console him by saying, “Look, I know just how you feel. In 2000, I was sitting right where you are and telling everyone who’d listen that the election of George W. Bush would result in financial ruin, a divided nation and that the only good thing about him as president was at least he'd be too stupid to instigate some costly overseas folly that would unnecessarily cause bloodshed and near catastrophic loss of national prestige.” Then I laughed maniacally.

• To me the most fascinating person to emerge from the election wasn’t Sarah Palin, but her soon-to-be son-in-law, 18-year-old Levi Johnson. He’s soon to become a father and part of one of what will be the second most scrutinized family in the Northern Hemisphere. My biggest concern when I was 18 was crafting a fake ID that might pass as legit in a dimly lit bar. I’m predicting he’ll be the breakout star of the Palin reality show I bet is already being discussed.

• I can admit I wasn’t really mature enough to be a married father until I was 40. By that time I’d been married for seven years and had been a father for three.

• At least twice a week, my wife still gives me looks I decode as meaning, “When the hell are you ever going to grow up?” It’s bound to happen one of these days.

• I was talking music with some old buddies last spring and we were all discussing our favorites. Names like Dylan, The Stones, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, The Replacements and Todd Snider were mentioned. All cool. Then one of the guys started gushing about the band America, the 70s hitmakers of “Horse with No Name,” and others too vapid and tedious to recall. We all looked at him like he was insane. Ever since then, every time I hear Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaching the sermon that includes the rant, “Goddamn America!” I wonder if he’s referring to that offensively mainstream pop band. I believe there’s a chance he is and that would really help put the whole thing in a new perspective.

• I wonder if there’s any YouTube tapes of Rev. Wright saying things like, “and goddamn Gordon Lightfoot, too!”

• I was a big Bill Clinton fan because when he spoke he really made me believe in him. The difference with Obama and just about everyone else I’ve ever heard is that he makes me believe in us. He makes me believe we’re capable of doing great things. I think he’s wrong about me, but I’m good company when the rest of you come into the bar to tell me about the great things you’ve done and that’s fine with me.

• George Bush is, maybe for the first time, looking positively presidential in the gracious way he’s recognizing the historic portent of the Obama election and how he’s committed to ensuring a seamless transition. It figures, the only time I’d have anything good to say about Bush is the way he’s leaving office. Still, every time I hear his approval rating is around 24, I have to wonder if it’s 24 percent or just 24 people.

• McCain’s concession speech was moving, but am I the only guy who finds it jarring to hear him get weepy about what a fine gentleman Obama is and what a splendid president he’ll make after he’s spent the past six months telling us he’s a dangerous America-hating Marxist whose only government experience comes in building bombs to toss at the Pentagon?

• The funniest line I heard through the whole campaign was from a black woman who was being interviewed on CNN who said the best thing wasn’t just that a black man was going to be president, but that he had this whole beautiful, intact family as role models. “We haven’t had a whole, intact black family to look up to since The Huxtables and they weren’t even real.” She wasn’t trying to be funny.

• My plumber’s a nice, quiet guy. He comes in, we exchange pleasantries, he fixes the leaks and then hands me a bill that always leaves me wondering if it isn’t too late for me to go to plumbing school. But if he ever comes in and starts talking about things like the capital gains tax or NAFTA, I’m going to snatch a wrench from his belt and beat the ever living daylights out of him.

• The Republicans can have Joe the Plumber, I’m glad we have Bruce the Strummer. Springsteen’s never done anything in his life that’s made me anything but busting with pride to be an American fan of his. It’s a lucky privilege for all of us to be on the planet at the same time he’s up and about.

• I don’t care if the Republicans spend the next 40 years wandering lost in the wilderness, and if they think the country’s going to rally around them based on the combined wisdoms of Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin that’s exactly where they’re going to wind up.

• “. . . and goddamn Captain & Tennille!”

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