Monday, November 07, 2011
I'm standing by my man
Three years ago, yesterday, Barack Hussein Obama beat John Sidney McCain handily and became the President-Elect of the United States of America.
He came up hard, raised by a single mother and his grandparents, but he wasn't the first president to come from the underclass. Nixon was from dirt-poor farmers, Clinton grew up in backwoods Arkansas and Ulysses S. Grant was, of course, raised by wolves in the wilds of Alaska.
I was in Belfast the night of the election and flew home through Heathrow the next day. I sat in that terrible airport waiting for my connection, reading the English papers, weeping in amazement and relief.
I'm always happy to be home, but that day was the first in many years that I was proud.
Proud because I knew in my bones that we had elected a man who was going to have a very hard time screwing the poor.
Not that he wouldn't, but just that it was going to be a lot harder for him to do it. Which is something you can't say about a lot of the guys who've had the job and, truthfully, about all I look for any more in a candidate's resume.
So Barack Obama was sworn into office and settled his skinny self behind the Big Desk.
And to many people's great surprise, the junior Senator from Illinois turned out to be a politician. And not a particularly seasoned one at that. He got rolled, over and over again, by an opposition more united against him than anything Bill Clinton ever saw and that's saying a great, great deal. He didn't handle the greatest economic self-created catastrophe that Capitalism has wrought in eighty years. He hired the only guys who could even pretend to understand what had gone wrong, they being the guys who engineered the train wreck in the first place.
He behaved like he was some kind of, I don't know, constitutional scholar rather than the dyed-in-the-wool liberal firebrand we elected.
And he passed health care reform and it's not perfect and it's not what we all wanted and parts of it plain don't work, but criticizing the achievement is like bitching that Jackie Robinson batted under 300 in his first season with the Dodgers.
It happened. It's on the books. We go forward from here.
He allowed gay servicemen and women to keep their careers in the event that they were discovered to be, well, themselves.
He didn't start a war.
If you want the whole partisan litany, it's here.
Now I've got more than a few close friends who've written the President off and I hear that Matt Damon and Ben Stiller and other fine movie actors are disappointed in his performance. And if you look at things objectively, everyone's got a point. Guantanamo Bay is still open. We doubled-down in Afghanistan. Unemployment's at 9 percent and gay people can't get married.
But how do you think John McCain and his cohorts would have done over the last few years?
And how do you think Romney, Perry, Cain or any of the rest of the line-up will do?
And in the end, remember, please remember:
The Democratic party is run by hopelessly compromised, corporate money-addicted, status quo- worshipping, rich white men.
The Republican party is run by Christian fundamentalist bigots.
There is a difference.
There's a difference between a cigarette and a handgun. Both will kill you, but only one is expressly designed for that purpose.
And believe it or not, I've got some good Republican friends. Can't help it, I grew up in the Midwest. And they're not Christian fundamentalist bigots. So I'm not saying that every Republican is a Neanderthal, I'm saying that the Republican party is run by Christian fundamentalist bigots. Which is why a sensible, worldly cyborg like Mitt Romney has to mouth ridiculous things that go against his factory settings just to keep standing on the stage with Bachmann and Perry and Santorum.
Next time you hear yourself saying that there's no real difference between the two parties, think of these two words: "Supreme Court". And remember two names: Roe and Wade.
Because the lasting legacy of Bush is not the waste of Afghanistan or the crime of Iraq or the economic disaster or even the Patriot Act, it's the Roberts Court. The guys who, without even being asked directly, ruled that corporations have the full rights of human beings. The men and women who will serve up to and, in some cases through, senility.
Life appointments, my friends. Wars can be abandoned, terrible, terrible laws can be repealed but when you put on that black robe, only the undertaker gets to take it off.
So I'm standing by the president. And everyone else better get off their asses and do the same thing. In 364 days, they count the votes again. Wouldn't you rather bitch about how lame President Obama is for another four years than watch the Mittbot 2012 or someone far scarier take the oath?
Think about it for a minute and then let's get to work.