So this is the post I had intended to write when I accidentally wrote the last post instead.
I want to write about Obama.
Back in February, I said this:
So okay, it’s not a shock that I’d be voting for this guy. I’m a member of the hip-hop generation. There’s a cool ass Black dude–a Progressive cool ass Black dude–running for President? Of course he gets my vote. He’s from Chicago, he plays basketball, he owns up to his youthful indiscretions? Sign me up. And he can speak? He can speak with rhythm, with flavorful cadences, with enthusiasm and passion and accessibility? He can speak to me, directly to me, the way so many hip-hop artists and theater artists and neighborhood geniuses have spoken to me, full of confidence without bluster, swagger with compassion, spirit and spirituality and yeah, I say this without irony, love in his voice and his heart? And he’s young, he’s handsome, he’s–I can’t believe I’m saying this–electable? I’m voting. I voted. I ride for Barack.
(And again, I’ll post the original note from February here in this blog shortly.)
On some level, there’s nothing else to say. Things haven’t changed. This dude, purely on surface, is the candidate I wanted. The look, the sound of his voice, the family–it all comes pretty damn near what I’d design were I designing my ideal political candidate. But then I listen to what he says, and yo…he’s right where I want him to be. John McCain kicked off the night of speeches by tearing into Obama, commenting on his perceived lack of record in terms of reaching across the aisle to make partisan decisions. And say what you want about that discussion, school me on what the truth is there, because I honestly don’t know, but I know this: McCain almost sing-songed that part of his speech, trying to make it sound like a taunt, trying to goad a reaction out of, well, somebody, although I imagine he knows it’s unlikely to be Obama, because, for a junior statesman, that dude outclasses the old guard when it comes to campaign stump civility.
(Although I have to admit there was a little dig at McCain in Obama’s speech, and it was subtle and got a laugh. The difference, I think, was that Obama was responding to and deflecting an unprovoked criticism, and ended up looking above the fray as a result.)
But look. I’m falling into political analysis, and I’m not qualified for that. Here’s what I know:
1. I have never been more excited about a presidential candidate.
2. I have never before donated money to a presidential candidate.
3. I have never seen my friends–my non-politicized friends I’m talking here–get so excited about a candidate.
And I’m trying to be some kind of articulate somewhere in this, to really express what I’m feeling, what I felt when I listened to that speech tonight, to both those speeches tonight, and my words have left me, have run off to rest up knowing that the next what is it, five months, will provide ample opportunity and steady demand for eloquence on behalf of the first candidate I’m proud to call my candidate.
So I’ll try this.
If you dig back into the previous posts on this here blog, you’ll find A Fairy Tale. It’s the story of a little poison tree frog who feels like he might have lost his way. Our hero, the tree frog, is frozen into inaction by self-doubt, by this nagging feeling that he’s done the wrong thing with his little poison tree frog life, and he gets this feeling because he looks around him and he sees that what he’s good at–what he is–is not represented in the rest of the poison tree frog community, is not valued by the mainstream of the poison tree frog world.
Well, there’s a second chapter to that story, and it goes like this.
So as the poison tree frog is stuck, as he’s frozen, as the fear is starting to overwhelm him, and as he begins to wish he was something other than he is–BAM. Barack Obama shows up.
Right as our hero the tree frog feels like he can’t be who he is anymore, he looks up at the highest branch on one of the highest trees in the whole effing forest, and there he sees another poison tree frog, and while that frog doesn’t look exactly like our hero, or sound exactly like our hero, or even share much of a background in common with our hero–he speaks our hero’s language. And no one else on such a high branch has ever felt so in line with our hero’s needs and wants and cultural aesthetic.
And our hero, for the first time in a long time, knows that it’s not enough to climb as high as he has already climbed. Because the precedent now exists. Poison Tree Frogs can go higher. He knows. He’s seen it.
And so he starts to climb.