This isn't really a big shock. While Edwards was playing it aloof it was always obvious that he hates Hillary. Earlier in the primary he was constantly attacking her in an effort to raise his stock only to be undercut by Obama's charm offensive.
But when the news came down I was a little dead inside.
It was fun, I guess. And Obama and Edwards looked smashing together with their brains, good looks, Barack's height and Edwards' charming accent. It couldn't be more perfect. But I can't pump fake my own mind.
I'm not a true believer.
I've always struggled with good-hearted trust and belief. I didn't believe in Santa Claus as a kid. I struggle with my own religious faith. And when my ex said he was going to New York to see an "old Marine buddy," I knew he really meant "tramp I met on AOL."
I'm not completely devoid of belief. I believe in love. I believe in loyalty, friendship and family. I believe in the potential of people, especially children.
I just don't believe in political parties, pundits and politicians/prophets who offer me deliverance to the promise land. Just deliver me from bridges that collapse when I'm driving on them. OK? I don't need my own personal, political Jesus.
I just can't get all crazy in love for Obama and Edwards. I can get all "in like" with them. I can support them. I plan on voting for Obama in the general. But I can't make like they're Hannah Montana and Thriller Era Michael Jackson rolled into one.
When I look at the those crowds, those happy, screaming so hard they faint crowds I go ... nope. Don't feel it. Haven't caught the presidential Holy Ghost. And much like when I was a teenager and would sit in church and feel nothing, wanting badly to feel what others felt I questioned my own pre-hardened heart:
Where did my childlike wonder go to die? Was it because I didn't clap during Peter Pan and instead waited, morbidly, to see if that damn Tinkerbell would die? Is it because I never read "Dear God, It's Me, Margaret?" I'm excited for history. I'm happy for Obama, but why haven't I broken loose into a fit of Hope Fever? Or Hope Hives? Or Hope Avian Bird Flu?
What was wrong with me? Think, Snob! Think! Had someone sent my soul quail hunting with Dick Cheney?
I appreciate the historical aspect. I feel the pride. I feel the coming of a watershed moment. I just don't feel ... the other stuff.
Maybe it was Pat Buchanan, possibly my favorite of all the TV bigots, who summed up the feeling of the naysayers both black and white when he opined that while many want to believe America has grown up and is ready to sit at the adult table on race, on "Hardball" Wednesday, he bellowed a flat, hard, "Hell fucking no."
I wish I could find the video because Chris Matthews tries desperately to get the bigot genie back into the bottle talking about how race isn't an issue for his kids. How things are so different and how he wants to believe that America is a better place now. But Buchanan would not be silenced. Race IS an issue! He doth proclaimed. How could it be anything but? (It could, but let's hear the bigot out ...) Buchanan charged that all this "poor, white, working class" talk is code for dumb racist rednecks and the dumb racist rednecks know it, sir, and they are pissed.
He repeated the facts about West Virginia and rural Pennsylvania and rural everywhere that did not vote for Obama and he flung out that oft quoted stat that Obama was garnering more than 90 percent of the black vote. Part of that's Hillary Clinton's fault, but some of it is because some black people desperately want, need Obama to win. He is the manifestation of so many dreams deferred. Therefore the inverse might be true. For every blue collar white who is voting for Hillary because they liked her husband or liked her fighting spirit, there is a bevy of people simply voting against Obama.
As pointed out comically by Jon Stewart:
Ah. That was that other shoe I was waiting to hear drop.
Now ordinarily, I don't care what racists think. But this is an election season, so it is worth acknowledging that maybe poor white people don't like being called "dumb racists" by TV pundits just because they didn't vote for Barack Obama. Even if some do hold prejudiced, racist views and are, quite likely, voting for Hillary Clinton because they can't fathom picking and the man with the permanent tan.
As a pragmatist from Missouri I'm always sitting around going "show me. Show me why I should ignore all the static and wear the T-shirt." I'm like a person with a pin pricking balloons going, "THE FACTS! LOOK AT THE FACTS, PEOPLE!" We're dealing with politicians, not angels. Everyone has not advanced! Everyone hasn't crossed the racial Rubicon!
That doesn't mean you can't love Obama, but prepare yourself for reality at least. Make sure it's nice and cushiony when the world shows up and begins knocking us all on our asses.
Amongst the pundits who weren't Patrick "The Mexicans Are Coming" Buchanan, there was this whole victorious delusion being bandied about that Edwards, who converted to populism after the Guy Smiley, go-along to get-along, routine didn't work, could pull some of the "I don't like Obama's funny name" crowd. For heavens sake. A few months ago people were wondering if a videotape of Edwards fluffing his hair would hurt his POTUS chances.
These people are not voting for Barack. He could put Jesus Christ on the ticket and they would convert to Judaism. Or better, he could put Dale Earnhardt Jr. down as veep. It doesn't matter. It would just make them hate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and give them another reason to bitch as to why "Lil' E," once again, is not living up to his father.
I'm not saying the endorsement means nothing. Edwards is well-liked among unions and all the people who were already voting for Obama. And I definitely preferred "angry" John Edwards over "nice" John Edwards. If he can keep the anger up, I'd like to see him take on a role where that madness might be worth something. Like attorney general. That would be awesome. But don't put icing on a turd and tell me it's cake!
Wait .. I know that last part sounded bad, but honestly. I'm working on the cynicism. Really. I'm seeing a therapist about it. I just lie back on the couch and he reads me policy figures and platitudes and whispers, "Believe! Let go of your fears. What could it hurt? Unclench your bowels. Give in! Relax, relate, release! Relax, relate, release!"
I'm trying, dammit!
I want to see the mountain top. It's just ... this isn't Malcolm going to Mecca. It's a presidential race and I expect to be fucked. I don't want to get all dressed up thinking this is true love and we're going to be together forever and you really mean it, politicians. You really, really mean it this time when you say you're going to fulfill that laundry list of promises that you proposed to me. That you will give me that big white house in the good part of Washington. And that is required of me is if I'd just shut up and put out already.
Washington is a whorehouse. No one should know this better than black people. We've been getting fucked there for years. Sometimes you can fight the system. Sometimes you can guilt the system. But the system wants you to put out a little first. Some have resisted and prevailed. But a cast of thousands found lying on your back to not as bad as you'd think.
I expect to be fucked here. Maybe you don't know you're going to a lobbyist/politician/news media orgy where everyone wears tuxedos and freebases off their own cynicism, but I've seen it in Wolf Blitzer's eyes. Don't let the monotone voice fool you. He wants blood.
That's not to say there aren't good people trying to clean up that orgy. That there aren't folks screaming, "For Christ's sake! Put on some pants!" A lot of people want to do good. Be good. Act good. And they do good. I just know that things are hard and complicated and often the only solution seems to be getting drunk and having unprotected sex with Halliburton.
Someday, I might clap to bring Tinkerbell back to life but last night was not the night. I wish the happy couple the best of luck as this did, successfully, knock Hillary's unimportant, non-game changing win off the TV. And this will move some more goodwill in Obama's direction. But it did not improve my orange alert level of "this could still blow up in our faces."
So, I will wrap my jaded conscious up in a box and put it away, lest I completely blow everyone's high. It's just, I'm not saying that Obama and Edwards don't look all fresh-faced and noble. And I don't doubt that they want to do good. I'm just going in with my eyes wide open.
And my knees close together.
Now, if you don't mind. I'm going to look for pictures of Michelle Obama in lovely outfits. It works almost as good as Xanax.