Grasping At Flotsam
by C.J. Maloney
by C.J. Maloney
in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater,
broader, and fuller life.
never having been much for political participation of any sort,
there I was this past presidential Election Day, accompanied by
my wife, throwing my vote down a Third Party’s hopeless maw. In
my mind, voting is to politics as pro-wrestling is to sports: an
amusing farce, enlivened with empty boasts and the occasional skull-cracking
wife, God bless her soul, tossed her vote onto Barack Obama’s mighty
pile. Then off we went, invited to an election night party filled
almost to the brim with unity, all rooting for Mr. Obama, all but
me. "Watch your mouth, please" said my wife on the drive
over. No need for the warning – other people have other opinions,
and who am I to hold that against them? A world of unity would be
a boring one besides, a Star Wars without Darth Vader.
not that I happily choose to forego the pleasures of losing myself
in the crowd, but I can’t pretend to believe anything that slips
gently off a political tongue, even one so smooth as Mr. Obama’s,
and having read his books and listened to his speeches (which Ms.
Kyle Anne Shiver beautifully summed up as "eloquent but non-specific"),
I expect nothing but repeated disasters from his hand, each following
the other, pulled from a socialist goody-bag. I am resigned to it
seated comfortably at the Election Night party hosted by my town’s
Obama for President headquarters, I found myself cheering my libertarian
lungs when he took Pennsylvania from McCain, I hugged my wife as
New York, New Jersey, and Ohio went Obama blue.
of it was the people I was with that night. I sat surrounded by
many men and women who had first hand experience of the violence
and degradation of racism, who had met Jim Crow personally. As Obama’s
electoral count rose steadily, their hopeful nervousness faded and
was replaced by jubilant, stunned happiness. The bitter memories
of water cannon and snapping police dogs turned to bittersweet wishes
for now dead loved ones, to wish they were there to witness such
a thing. It was a sight to see, and a nice one at that.
home after the party, my wife and I, as parents do, checked on our
sleeping son before we went to bed. He lay below us, his fluffy
fro outlined on the white of his pillow, and the blood of multiple
races mixed in his blood. Taking my hand, "He can be president
one day now, too" she whispered to me. I’d rather he gets a
real job, something honorable, but I kept my mouth shut. No need
to ruin a moment, plus there was another part of it.
take what you can get out of life, and Obama offered something that
McCain just couldn’t hope to match. It’s not the promised vague
"change"; Obama’s policies are much the same as McCain’s,
which are much the same as W’s. What he gives us is a chance to
finally step away from America’s most sordid legacy, our irrational
soul-crushing obsession with race.
a pretty impressive piece of flotsam for a survivor of our shipwrecked
republic to cling to, and I’m happy for it as I float away with
[send him mail] lives and
works in New York City.
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