Monday, November 3, 2008

Nov 4th

ok so i have about 3.5 million things i should be doing right now other than blogging. this will be a short post. but i felt the need to say SOMETHING seeing as how tomorrow is...momentous.

i've been talking with friends, and a lot of us seem to be in the same general mental state: TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.

most of us seem too scared to even voice out loud what everyone else seems to be screaming from the rooftops - that obama is going to win tomorrow. the thought of proclaiming it, letting yourself believe it, and then having your hopes crushed is too terrifying. as many people have already said, liberals in this country have forgotten how to be happy, or even optimistic. the emotions we're generally most familiar with are terror, rage, and despair. so we're feeling all of those right now despite the fact that things are actually looking up. so in the spirit of that, i'm not going to talk about anything happy right now. although hopefully it IS something interesting...

I was reading an article today about who-can-remember-what, and it quoted a woman in North Carolina (I believe) who said she was scared of Obama, and that she worried he was planning on changing the American flag to something else. and for some reason that fairly insane fear, out of all the ones i've heard so far, suddenly made me feel this crazy empathy with this woman. Its so easy to see all those supposed masses of "real america" residents who hate and fear obama and think "man, those people suck." but as I was reading this article it dawned on me that if i were her, i'd probably be scared too. The fear is not of Obama himself, but of the symbolic power shift implied in electing a seemingly liberal black man as president - something is going to change, and a lot of people don't quite know what that something is. I don't think I can say it better than my friend Ann did earlier today, so i'll just quote her here:
"There is something to the fact that many of the people who actually are afraid of barack obama because of his race, or because of his liberalism, or because of both of them combined, are actually not the most secure people in america. Confused white people in western pennsylvania are not high rollers and their jobs aren't that secure. They might have relatives in prison, and relatives in iraq. The people who are against immigration viscerally are people who fear losing their jobs. The people who are afraid of changing sexuality, are also afraid of having their religion become obsolete and becoming culturally irrelevant. The people who are afraid of a black president probably are playing into the same fear that people have been harboring for centuries in this country, (is this really racist against white people to say) but a white sharcropper mentality. Super racist because your position isn't that secure either, because if I don't have whiteness, I have nothing."

I think that we among the 'liberal elite' spend a lot of time wondering why so many people who are relatively poor vote republican, when the republican party clearly does very little for poor people. But I think Ann's hit on something important which is that if you're a powerless minority in this country, you don't have much to lose. but if you're a powerless member of the majority, whether it be your whiteness, your male-ness, your heterosexuality that ties you to the faces of power in this country, you have a real fear that if you lose that one tie to power, you'll have nothing. For a poor white person, seeing another white person in power is as symbolically relevant as i can only hope seeing a black person in power will be for black people. and i just realized this post isn't as short as i intended it to be, so i need to get back to work.

good luck out there tomorrow.

1 comment:

POPS said...

great point though, no matter the length