I was floored when the US people elected GWB as president eight years ago. Floored. Especially, since he was not actually elected by the people. But I still hoped that he would be out in four years and, really, how much damage can be done in just four years.
Then came September 11, 2001.
Then the US invaded Afghanistan. And then the Patriot Act.
And *sigh* then the second Gulf War. March 20 -- to add insult to injury -- my birthday.
All this lead to GWB voted in -- and i use the term extremely loosely -- for a second time
Somewhere in there, I lost hope and belief. Time and time again, the events of the last eight years reminded me of warnings in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World Revisited, a pamphlet written in 1958 -- Before birth control, before Nixon's impeachment, before the Vietnam War.
In it, Huxley warned:
In the light of what has been said about persuasion-by-association and the enhancement of emotions by subliminal suggestion, let us try to imagine what the political meeting of tomorrow will be like. The candidate (if there is still a question of candidates), or the appointed representative of the ruling oligarchy, will make his speech for all to hear. Meanwhile the tachistoscopes, the whispering and squeaking machines, the projectors of images so dim that only the subconscious mind can respond to them....
Does any of that sound as familiar to you as it does to me?
He went on to say that recent public opinion polls have revealed that an actual majority of young people in their teens, the voters of tomorrow, have no faith in democratic institutions, see no objection to the censorship of unpopular ideas, do not believe that government of the people by the people is possible and would be perfectly content, if they can continue to live in the style to which the boom has accustomed them, to be ruled, from above, by an oligarchy of assorted experts.
Me, I am one of those who has no faith in democratic institutes, although I have always voted. This past election, though, I decided I wasn't going to bother. Why throw even a moment's time or energy into a system in which my opinion and desires disappear without so much as the influence of a fly crawling across your arm? I also became increasingly frustrated by what I saw as plain old bullshit during the democratic primaries.
Then came McCain. Even worse, Palin. I watched the arguments pro-McCain/Palin become increasingly perverse.
And he does this, not in the spirit of the moralist who would like to make people better, or of the physician who would like to improve their health, but simply in order to find out the best way to take advantage of their ignorance and to expolit their irrationality for the pecuniary benefit....
I saw the Republican party draw on our fears instead of our strengths.
Stored in the minds and bodies of countless individuals, this potential energy is released by, and transmitted along, a line of symbols carefully laid out so as to bypass rationality and obscure the real issue.
What is the real issue, you may ask. For me? I are living in a country that has been in a state of pseudo-war for almost a decade. Our rights have been slowly leached away and the voice through which to speak has insidiously been eroded by huge media conglomerates under the rubric of Unamericanism.
And I realized that it doesn't matter if my vote means nothing, because refusing to vote means so much more.
So I registered in my new home state of Georgia and cast my ballot for Obama with the slight chance that maybe, just maybe this red state would lead blue. It didn't, but the county in which I voted went overwhelmingly for Obama.
Some say Obama would never have won this election if the economy wasn't as bad. So what? At least he legitimately won the election. And who knows what the next four years will bring? It is absolutely true that the challenges our country faces will overwhelm us. Economy. Banking. War withdrawl (or not). Middle East unrest. Housing. Unemployment. It's huge. At least I feel that we have a president who actually wants to improve things for people as a whole.
Yes, I may be wrong, but at least I have hope. It has been a long time since I have been able to say that. And maybe, just maybe, history will look back at this period of time as a major turning point of true, rational, positive change.
This is a proud day.