I had a dream, last night, that Obama won the election. Well, that part's not hard to explain--since he did. So that's where my dream began, in a small public library in a suburban neighborhood where they were cleaning up the polling site for the evening, with CNN on in the background waiting for the results to roll in. And he won. And not only that, but he was there, and when the news that he had won was announced, everyone cheered and they piled Obama into a car, and we began driving. Yes, of course I was in the car. It's my dream. My father was driving, and someone else was in the front seat with him, and they talked animatedly the whole time. I sat in the back seat with Obama, glancing at him once in a while, trying to weigh him up, trying to read his face.
We pulled out past the town limits, passing under lots of telephone wires strung in the air. On one there perched a bird--about the size of a duck, a bright brilliant emerald green and with a tail that draped almost three feet long behind it, like a Bird of Paradise. As we drove underneath where it perched, it took to flight and began singing a breathtakingly beautiful song. It flew along with us as we drove down the long, straight road, across the country. Fields and lazy rolling hills stretched out before us on all sides, honest-to-goodness "amber waves of grain" and hillsides of warm patchwork fall foliage. Old broken-down farmhouses, log cabins and shanties passed outside our window, and the Green Bird flew over us, swooping and diving, swinging with everything it had. My father sat in the driver's seat, talking enthusiastically, saying something about how, "Kids can so easily wind up out here, in the country, in the wild--and here, because of the isolation, they can become great, they can discover who they are and become Great Men--or, they can falter and fail, become bitter and angry and hardened and ideological, isolated from others. It all depends. We need to encourage them to become Great, rather than to become small, to face the challenge of isolation and hardship and improve themselves by it, rise to the challenge, rebuild this place, become better..." The other person in the front seat eagerly nodded and agreed and chimed in. Meanwhile, I leaned over to Obama once in a while, who gazed out the window at the landscape not seeming to listen, and asked him a few quiet questions, "What would you have done if you'd lost? How are you feeling? What will you do now?" He mumbled in answer, looking, honestly, exhausted and a little bit terrified. Then he said only, "The land is so beautiful..."
And it was--the clouds overhead were dark and low and menacing, a frightening sky--but sunlight low from the horizon cut across in wide shafts and illuminated the land itself, illuminated everything all around us, the brilliant colors set off even more strikingly against the threatening horizon. I said, "Yes, it is... That's why I love the fall--it's like the whole land is shedding its skin and revealing its pulsing, vibrant underbelly right before--" Obama sighed and leaned his forehead against my shoulder. It jostled, bone against bone, as the car rumbled down the road. "And do you see the Green Bird?" I asked him, as though trying to comfort a child. "Look, can you hear it singing? Do you see the Green Bird? It's been following us ever since we left the city! Isn't it beautiful? There! Look, there it goes, just there!"
He leaned over, searching out the window, squinting into the sun, but couldn't see it flying. He looked tired and sad, and soon closed his eyes and fell asleep as they continued to drive him along.
And here's what I have to say: I wish people would stop fucking comparing Obama to Martin Luther King, Jr. Seriously. MLK was a pacifist, a visionary, a grassroots revolutionary, and a great human being. Obama is just an ordinary politician who uses passionate, familiar rhetoric (and who just happens to be black). Which is not to say Obama is a bad person. He just isn't Martin Luther King. I mean, I know all black men look alike to most white people, but get a grip.
And they wonder why us pacifist anarchist types are never satisfied, always striving. People are so eager to hand it all over to the next man with a nice face and pleasing words. But what has Obama done to prove himself worthy of this fluster of ecstatic worship? Nothing yet. He ran for and was elected to President (and in doing so already compromised on a number of his previous commitments which we have all quietly ignored and let slide because it was just so vital that McCain not succeed to the throne).
I hope he becomes worthy, or that at least he does his job well. But I'm just not inclined to worship, or exaltation, or holding my breath until I feel giddy and light-headed. And I'm certainly no prouded to be an American today than those 55 million citizens yesterday who thought their best idea all day was to vote for McCain. Should I be proud merely because I was born here? Should I feel patriotism for a place where an election can be so close and so many people still give in to xenophobia and misinformation? No, I just don't get it. I'm proud to be me, to be who I am and who I strive to become... but as for American--well, like I wrote on my voter registration form (under both "party" and "race"): "No Affiliation."
But don't be mad. Obviously, you all didn't need me anyway.