As I wait for tomorrow with the restless anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve, my thoughts pour the political events of last year through my mind. The road leading to tomorrow, Election Day, is/was/continues to be an improbable epic, encompassing all the big themes, holding the attention of both the US and the world at large. The hated McCain versus beloved Obama, squaring off in a confrontation of one generation against another, one economic class against another, one worldview against another, in which our nation stands poised to usher in either complete redemption or eternal damnation at the nervous hands of a jittery electorate.
Despite the various indications of pollsters and electoral projections, a general sense of unease grips both sides of the battle for control of this country. The candidates seem only to agree on a single point, that of coming change. Although Obama struck this moniker first, the McCain camp has also fought to cloak themselves in the guise of reform, each knowing full well that after eight years of Bush, citizens of the US are intent on being well rid of him. All we can really expect, after tomorrow, is something different, a keen sense of foreboding, of the unknown.
When the Clinton administration left the White House, it was rumored that, as a prank, they took with them all the ‘W’ keys from every computer keyboard and left behind single sheets of explicit pornography interspersed so deep into West Wing photocopiers that images were still popping up weeks after Bush’s inauguration. It should be noted that former-President Clinton also took with him the sting of impeachment, but in exchange left behind a rising Federal surplus.
It is impossible not to consider that which Bush and company have taken with them, and what they have left behind. With them, the Bush administration packed up or eviscerated all economic prosperity, a hefty Federal budget surplus, national dignity among the international community, and the prospect of real peace. Behind, they will leave two wars, an unsteady stock market, plummeting home values, and a corporate culture bereft of all virtue.
It is no mistake that this past summer, the highest grossing film (second-highest all time), was The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan. Grossing over $600 million, this film spoke to the US, of a crusader for justice in a place and time of marked injustice. So too has the wildly popular Senator Barack Obama distinguished himself, another kind of dark knight, whose popularity drew crowds in the tens and hundreds of thousands all across our uncertain national landscape.
We required, require, and will continue to require a fixture of hope and inspiration if our country is to emerge from this self-devised ruckus. Regardless of arguments over the age versus experience, Sen. Obama proves the ultimate truth of our increasingly modern and difficult to pin-down generation. That in the face of ubiquitous corruption of all aspects of American life (corporate malfeasance, chemically-enhanced sports stars, lack of all privacy, illegitimate warfare) the last remaining untouchable ideal is performance. Despite all these compromised institutions, we still enjoy earnings reports, highlight reels, and the possibility of victory or peace.
We love Sen. Obama because he performed his campaign so eloquently under such violent shelling by partisan attacks and general domestic upheaval, in his speeches, his strategies, his spell abroad, his future plans, his tested faith, his debate tactics, and his both lovely and doomed family life. Today it was revealed that the 86 year-old grandmother of Sen. Obama, who contributed greatly to his upbringing and worldview, passed away, just one day before the national election. She will not witness the glory of her prodigal grandson taking our highest office.
This serves to illustrate a unique example, of the fragility of life and hope. That although we may cling to both with a fury all our own, ultimately, they hang in the proverbial balance, able to vanish at the slightest push/pull, one direction or another. Knowing this, we as a country must vote tomorrow not just for our own lives and hopes, but for those of the future generations of this country. We must redeem ourselves, prove ourselves worthy, of a future not only of continued prosperity, but of our very existence.
I am prepared to stand in any line tomorrow, to wait out any crowd, or any attempt at hindering my right to vote, if only to confront, like a lone pedestrial protester resisting a column of Chinese tanks, a future of potential hopelessness. My vote tomorrow for future-President Barack Obama is not simply an act of representative democracy but an act of inspiration, redemption, and ultimately, of survival.