so i arrive at the american studies conference in albuquerque, new mexico a day late due to flight delays, and totally sleep deprived for the same reasons. in all the american airports i had to travel through (albuquerque, dallas, chicago) i saw lots of meaningless obama and mccain objects i imagine americans with cash to waste were busy purchasing. or maybe not given the economy right now. in any case, i was hoping that could be explained by middle american bad taste of the sort of joe-the-plumber variety. but no: i was startled to see the spectacle of obamamania at this conference. at a conference among thinking people, smart people, people i respect. i saw varieties of obama lapel pin buttons, some rather stylized. i’m not sure if this is just a fashion statement or a statement of a real feeling of support. i fear it is a combination of the two. i tried to steer away from such conversations, but i somehow got trapped into it with a few smart people i admire and respect. but the same theme emerged: fear. people know he sucks on foreign policy. that he’s no different than mccain. but they are afraid of mccain, and more importantly of palin. i get that, i do. at the same time i have a problem with voting based on fear. i have a problem voting for someone who will likely bring us more war (vietnam anyone?: little flashback–did any president, regardless of promises or desires, scale that war down?). but i also heard this really sort of somewhere-over-the-rainbow rhetoric, too, which was strange–this almost religious “i believe” rhetoric about obama. meaning: they “believe” that he’s just saying what he’s saying now because he wants to get elected, but they believe that he will change later after he’s in office. it’s scary to see how once radical people have become so “liberal” (and i don’t mean that in a good sense–i don’t know if there is a good sense of that word) that they are willing to make compromises i can’t imagine them making 20 or 30 years ago.
i can’t imagine someone can listen to cynthia mckinney and ralph nader’s responses to the debate and still imagine that they are not the smarter, better candidates. if everyone chooses not to vote out of fear we wouldn’t have to live in this two-party quagmire. but what i want to know is this: is everyone delusional? do they really think their votes are even going to count? do people have amnesia? between the voter purges and the made-for-failure voting machines i suspect on some level it doesn’t matter who wins in reality. the votes cast will never reveal that truth.
and that’s my exhausted, i’ve had about 4 hours sleep in the last 36 hours or so rant.