Just few days left to the election’s D-Day and most likely, almost definitely, Barak Obama will be in the White House in January 2008.
What makes this election an historical event in the United States is not only the contrast in the president’s color with that of his place of residence, but the contrast in tone and climate that this man of color would cast with those of his predecessors in the recent American history.
What heightens this contrast is the exceptional exhibition of vulgarity, superficiality, manipulation, accusation, and lies employed by the Republicans in this race. Joe the Plumber became the symbol of the average American; Joe Six Pack sets the standard for working class Middle America; a hockey mom with a pregnant teenager daughter has become the symbol for the average American women; a vice presidential candidate who acknowledges that her $150,000 wardrobe is just “like lighting and stage props” serves as décor in this race, defining the role of women in politics; chatty talk show hosts and gossip columnists become advisers and consultant to the candidate; and actresses with fancy cloths and make up appear to judge the credentials of a Harvard graduate.
The Republican Party’s defeat is not a mere political defeat or a strategic defeat. It is a cultural change, if I dare say, a cultural revolution. I think it should be a source of pride for all of us that most of us, although not all of us, have reached a level of maturity and wisdom. The defeat of McCain/Palin is the defeat of vulgarity misapprehended as the simplicity of middle America, displayed by Joe Six Pack, the hockey mom, and the Joe the Plumber who joined the bandwagon in last days of campaign, all heading to the graveyard of history, thanks to their ringleader, John McCain.
The coincidence of the economic crisis with the election has brought about many discussions as if we are in the end of some era. If this is the end of Capitalism, Colonialism, American Imperialism, or any other -ism, I do not know. Heaven know it might be the beginning of something called “hegemonyism”. It might be, as one Iranian journalist said a few days ago, a new wave of right-wing populism as opposed to a new emerging wave of leftist populism forming in Third World countries. But I’m sure no one will ever again dare to come forth to run for the presidency of the United States claiming he/she receives his/her mandate from the Joe Six Pack or hockey moms, or establishes his/ her policy based on Joe the Plumber’s dreams and demands. These average-simpleton-representatives do not exist any more, or if they exist, they are in the minority and on their way to extinction.
I’m not so sure as how green the future landscape of the country will be, but I’m sure that it is definitely fading where the workers are sitting in front of their TVs drinking six packs, women are always pregnant housewives, teen age girls attending high schools are getting pregnant, $118,000 tax offenders serve as spokesmen of working class people. Instead, I see more colors coming to the picture, brighter shiny eyes, more young energetic people with lots of hope, less fear, and abundant determination, and lots of older men and women adorned by wisdom rather than just the accumulation of years.
I’m sure it won’t be the end of greed; I’m sure there will be many people who want to make millions of dollars overnight; and I’m certain there will be enough people who think the road to riches is the road to happiness. Indeed I’m not equipped to challenge any of them. However, the praise for these ideas, the glamorous portrayal of “rich and happy” would be off the screen for a while. Vulgarity is not going to be pampered, and wisdom will not be displaced with simple repetition.
I’m not sure it won’t be the end of racial hatred, or the religious fanaticism, or monopolizing the God; but for sure we all would find a chance to trust “others” who appear different than us. It would be an opportunity to find out “others” are just the other side of “ourselves.” And it would be a great chance for God as well. He would be given a chance to enjoy democracy, to look upon all of us equally, as He promised us all!
I’m sure we are all going to speak English. Once again the rules of grammar will be in effect. The dictionary will come into use, words will be chosen with care and used according to their agreed upon meanings, and above all, they will be used to heal, to comfort, to sooth, to explain, to clarify, to lead one to the truth, rather than to deceive and misguide, hurt or abuse. The rules of logic, deduction and induction will be brought back into our discourse; manipulation will be left to mothers who want to keep their children out of trouble. Statements coming from the leadership will reveal some ideas, aimed at achieving some purpose, rather than meaningless statements thrown about randomly as darts. Heaven knows our youngsters might be delighted to find out that the president of the country thinks first, evaluates his thought next, appraises them to see if they are doable, and if so by what cost and if the cost worth it, and then comes forth to propose his plan. He might become a model for many.
After eight years of the promotion of illiteracy in the White House, the leaderships of the country will be handed to literate and educated people who speak good English. Both the President and the First Lady will be Harvard graduates and neither of them got there by using his parents and grandparents’ alumni ticket, but through meritorious scholarship. They can deliver speeches with beginning, middle and end with some meaning and significance, rather than a jumble of words, the English version of Ahmadinejad’s speeches. They are able to gather needed information, to argue and to discuss; attend press conferences. They do not need to be reminded through a script written for them before hand, but can listen, think and answer. And astrologers will certainly not decide on the issues in Camp David, and those who make the decisions will be more precise in their aims and reaching their goals than Dick Chaney when shooting birds on his ranch.
I’m sure it is not going to be the end of warmongers in the world, but we are not going to be grist in their mill. (Obama announced that already.) He would leave the bellicose talks of Ahmadinejad as a gift unreturned, rather than paying him in his own coin of war and bombing, a discourse he needs to survive. Serious, determined and confident, he would call for dialogue. It is the Islamic Republic now which is loosing sleep as to what to do. Obama will certainly leave many like Ahmadinejad out of job.
Barring misfortune, pride would replace the embarrassments and humiliation when our president speaks or appears in public. Who was not delighted by his speech in Berlin? Could we imagine a few like that every year? Could we imagine that the president talks to us as if we are not retarded? Could we imagine being treated as if we know where Pakistan is and where Iraq is? Could we imagine not being children, deceived by few empty words? Could we imagine that we are talked to as if we are able to think and decide? How wonderful life would be not to hear McCain’s and Palin’s infantile talks and arguments?
And finally, for four years, hopefully, we are going to be free of belligerent messages to the other nations, we are not going to be a breed apart, but one among many. We might hear the old-fashion talk of peace, since we heard already a call for unity and equality. I hear already a delightful melody coming from not such far distance. Let’s listen, let’s have hope, let’s pray. It looks like our golden opportunity.