where the writers are
Election

"First of the Month," which has been billed as "The only leftist publication... being read at both Columbia University and Riker's...," asked me for 300 words on the election.  They are supposed to run on-line, but here's a preview for my loyal Red Room readers:

Being 66 years old, with no kids, sometimes the only sensible response seems to be to not give a shit. Watch "Inconvenient Truth"; do the math; figure by the time Antarctica becomes Boca Raton, I am long out of here.

The last candidate that truly excited me was Bobby Kennedy. I was a VISTA on Chicago’s South Side. When he was shot, if someone’d bricked a window on 47th Street, I’d’ve heaved the second stone. The next 40 years have been a Slough of Despond. After Ronald Reagan, the electorate could have elevated a saliva-dribbling zombie; I wouldn’t’ve blinked..

But I vote. I wear buttons, post signs, distribute leaflets. And after John McCain’s contempt-deranged nomination of Sarah Palin – and her narcissistically near-psychotic acceptance – I wrote Barack Obama my biggest political check ever.

I know Obama’s heading of the ticket alone represents the near miraculous, but he lights muted fire in my belly. I wish, for one thing, he would talk about the poor. I understand the danger of aiming words of brotherhood and comfort lower down the socio-economic ladder than the blue collar class, but it disturbs me that if Michael Harrington dropped "The Other America" into our current forest, it would make no sound.

Sometimes, the (Groucho) Marxian analysis of clubs appears to suit presidential elections. Why vote for anyone who’d want the job? That response seems even more reasonable today than in other quadrennials. But Obama presents free of the obvious queasy-making cravings of past nominees and may prove the transcendent figure knowledgeable friends envision. I have read enough Doris Kearns Goodwin to believe that such leaders can re-deem the spirit of a nation.

Or, at least, as Jake Barnes said to Lady Brett, "Isn’t it pretty to think so?"