the Change I Wish to See

...and whatever else it takes to find my pants

I've been silent for a long time. From the beginning, actually. I didn't vote in my primary. There were a lot of concerns to balance: my ego over a thoroughly deluded ex-dream of being the first black president; a hearty distrust of a vote approving "the use of force..."

The sum of those parts: I am mortified that I might not vote for the first black president.

But if I'm buying disingenuousness, maybe I want it to at least be predictable? Doesn't that smooth the edge of misleading rhetoric -- the "comfort" in knowing what the speaker really means? And isn't that especially true if the meaning between the lines, or behind the scenes, is really the best option anyway?


All Barack has to do is just be impenetrably straight forward. He's more charming, has a wider base, is more responsive and welcomely less salty. But, via his advisers, he has made it quite clear that he may mean little of what he says. His online "Plan for Ending the War in Iraq" never mentions the realism
a recently-former senior adviser offered this week. And his current senior foreign policy adviser doesn't think he's ready to answer that infamous 3am call. Not to mention, there's that non-vote Barack never made. He constantly reminds us that he didn't vote for the use of force when he couldn't have even if he had a constituency asking him to. I guess that means that if, in the future, there's an issue he's constitutionally-prohibited from voting on, trust that his judgment won't let him vote the wrong way. I have no idea what solace that's supposed to offer. So if that's the case, why shouldn't I choose the candidate with the b-side I know? Our country's future should not be left to the element of surprise better reserved for albums with hidden tracks. Not all secrets are bonuses.

Though, of course, not all Old Faithfuls live up to their namesake. And so I don't buy nearly enough of what Hillary spews to fall head over heels for her either. She escaped way too readily from her husband's overhanded indiscretions in South Carolina. She's been given a flat-out pass for her adviser's
Obama-Ken Starr comparison. And why would I ever walk into a relationship with someone who I knew couldn't admit she was wrong? Since when was it flirtatious to say you cling to mistakes like static to a fleece?

And so here I am. I'm in the place I said I hoped I wouldn't be: sandwiched between options that feel scarily incomplete. I'm tired of canvassing singles' bars. Wasn't this supposed to be the election where I found Mr. or Ms. Right? I want to be on the right side of history, but I want history to meet me in the middle. And I want you to stop telling me I'm asking for too much.

When do I get to love America? It's almost like I've been molested. I don't claim to understand or be able to relate to the lived severity of being raped or touched by your mom's boyfriend. But there's something at least remotely similar here figuratively. During my most vulnerable political years (the dating years) -- 18-25 -- George W. Bush is the only president I've seen. I've watched him "win" despite Florida and repeat despite Ohio. I've watched us let him. During my critically formative stage, I have lived and witnessed perhaps the most mismanaged and morally bankrupt administration in this nation's history. So yeah, I hope. But in a land where it takes "more than coupons to get us saved / like it takes a lot more than du-rags to get you waves," it's gonna take a lot more than promise to make me praise.

I don't want to do the best thing "given the circumstances." I want to do the right thing. At all times when it comes to politics. Because it defines struggle, achievement, life and death. And I want someone to explain to me why there is seemingly no right thing to be found and only compromise. I don't want to settle. Our system of politics is one where a nation of imperfect persons are told to make the best with what they've got because, after all, even the best of us are little more than the rest of us. But if I told you today that the law says you have to marry someone you knew but didn't love, even though you knew you'd have the option of divorce, hopefully at least some of you would tell me no one should dictate your private choices; that you're not making a serious commitment to an acquaintance, or that who you bring children into the world with matters. So why do you take handouts at their face value when in this relationship your partner is a leading decider in whether you can decide to have children, whether those kids go to war, what taxes you pay, and whether or not your job supports the very family you insist must be preserved? Is it really just because you hate being single? That the other fish in the sea are
rotten?

There's no coming back from this. Am I really the only citizen who wants a soulmate?

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4 comments:

lacochran said...

Good post. I know what you mean. I become more disenchanted with this country every day.

At least we can't blame Obama for this pointless war. And I like his take on health care better than Hillary's. He isn't perfect but he's a breath of fresh air compared to Hillary and John.

aijuswanawrite said...

thanks.

and you're right: Obama is, unless something tragically unforeseen happens, the choice we all should make. i realize, to an extent, that the practical solution is to choose "the best of." but i'm holding out hope that someone, maybe Obama, turns out to be this country's "true love."

Wil said...

If you're looking for some straightforwardness from Barack, I don't think you can get much more straightforward than his speeches this week. "A More Perfect Union" is one of the most honest speeches I've ever heard on race relations, ever.

aijuswanawrite said...

I absolutely agree. I wrote another post after that speech. The speech was brilliant. It was the first time, in a very long time, that anyone in a position of such significant power has been so candid about race.