Watching Barack Obama's 30-minute commercial last night, and being so deeply impressed once again by his grace and strength, compassion and vision, a parallel came to me out of Silksinger, so I want to share a brief passage with you and explain a little bit what this candidate means to me, what this potential presidency means to me. It might seem a little overwrought to you, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.
So, for context, there is a character in Silksinger named Hirik, a young faerie who dreams of becoming a Djinn's champion like Magpie Windwitch. He's keeping his dream a secret as he works his way across the great Sayash mountains (the Himalayas) as a mercenary on a dragonfly caravan, trying to reach the city of Nazneen, where he plans to search for the lost Djinn called the Azazel. During the journey, the threat of devil attack looms. . .
Well, he told himself resolutely, if he wanted to be champion, he would come to know plenty of devils -- they would be his life, in large part, as he worked to rid the world of them like the Magruwen’s champion did.
But it wasn’t all about hunting and capture, being champion. A new age was dawning, and the return of the Djinn meant the awakening of wonder, as it had been awakened halfway round the world in Dreamdark. The new age would be about magic and purpose and beauty. About building. Not just clinging on to the tattered hem of the ancient world, but making a new one. And how he wanted that!
The thing is, Hirik is a lad who wants to be champion for the right reasons. He has a vision for a bright new age for his people, and he wants to help make it a reality. He's not in it for the glory or the title; he's not in it just for himself. Corny or not, that's how I see Barack Obama. He has a plan and a vision, he has the brains and the temperment and the goodness to lead this country to a new era: an age of green, sustainable energy, and a huge new economy based on green, sustainable energy; a new age of diplomacy and regaining world respect; renewed respect for our Constitution and our civil liberties here at home; a new rise of the American middle-class, like the one we saw after WWII, with good jobs created and protected here, with a move toward affordable health care and college tuition. Barack Obama believes all this is possible and more, and I believe he will fight tirelessly to accomplish these goals, to make America stronger -- "not just clinging to the tattered hem of the old world, but making a new one."
McCain belongs to the old world, Obama to the new. When you watch Obama speak, he exudes hope and strength. McCain and Palin? They exude something very different: sarcasm, devisiveness, and lies. Their entire campaign is based on lies and mischaracterizations, attempts to deceive their supporters with rhetoric. They cry "terrorist!" and "socialist!" and suggest Obama is not a legal US citizen; they've got a plumber on the campaign trail now saying that an Obama presidency would signal the death of Israel -- so egregious a claim that even a Fox News reporter finds it frightening (video #1 below). I listen to their rallies, and they spend all their time on the attack, repeating lies that have long ago been discredited. There is a nastiness to everything they say, a sneering kind of bitchiness. McCain puts dismissive air quotes around "health of the mother," on abortion issues, and mocks Obama's concern for the environment on nuclear power (video #2 below, and this one astonishes me -- he actually says, mimicking Obama, "It has to be safe. . . environment. . . blah blah blah--" He actually says "blah blah blah," dismissing the idea of environmental safety in the most belittling way, and the crowd goes WILD. Just WILD. Like they're dogs that want to rip the damned environment apart with their teeth. Wha. . .? *Laini confused.*)
I tend to be a fatalist about the environment, believing that humanity lacks the will to come together to save this planet from the greed of corrupt corporations, or to stop the merciless onslaught of poverty and population explosion that make the environmental crusade seem like such a lost cause. But I do believe that Barack Obama genuinely still believes there's hope, and how magnificent would it be to be a part of the generation that finally sets out to do what needs to be done, to try to keep Earth habitable by our undeserving selves? Because that IS what this is about. This whole "environment blah blah blah" isn't just about polar bears and spotted owls, it's about the air we breathe and the water we drink, it's about the fragile balance of all life on this planet - including US. One candidate cares deeply about it, the other mocks it.
There's nothing positive, nothing hopeful or beautiful or uplifting about the McCain campaign, just this pervasive nastiness, with its ever-present undertone of racism. "He's not like us." It's not just the campaign, of course, it's the supporters, but this is part of my point: what do you want to be a part of? Do you want to be part of "building the new age," or of "clinging to the tattered hem of the old"? Part of the movement of hope? Or the campaign of lies and sarcasm and insidious McCarthyism?
Please don't leave me a comment supporting McCain. I honestly don't want to hear it, and I don't want to spend my day being frustrated or carefully phrasing replies. Your vote is your business; I'm not telling you how to vote, I'm just identifying what to ME are the two camps one can choose at this critical point in our nation's story.
If you didn't see the Obama commercial last night, it's video #3 below. It's part I, but there's a link in the bottom that allows you to click through to the rest of it as you go. Four families are featured as a way of illustrating his plans on the economy, health care, and other issues for helping working people. It's very moving, and honestly, there was a swelling in my heart as I watched it, this unmistakably buoyancy of hope. Here's a man who understands, and who cares, and who actually wants to be president for the right reasons. It isn't often a politician comes along who has the good heart and altruism to want to change the world for the better AND the strength of character to make it happen. Such a man is before us now.
Video 1 -- Joe the Plumber with Shep Smith on Fox:
Video 2 -- McCain on "safe for the environment blah blah blah":
Video 3 -- Obama commercial:
[P.S. This still is not my post on being liberal. That's yet to come.]