The best of times, the worst of times
I've been saying it for a long time: Nov. 5 is going to be one of the happiest days or one of the saddest days of our lives. Barack Obama's the first candidate I've ever voted for with enthusiasm—rather, this is the first time I've ever voted wholeheartedly for one candidate instead of wholeheartedly against another—and yet the thing is that I'm also voting wholeheartedly against McCain (and...God, I get the chills even typing the name...Palin). The fact that it's the same vote feels almost accidental.
So we've got a situation here in which two almost totally separate experiences are going to be overlaid...over each other? Sorry, vocabulary failure. My point is that if Obama wins, not only will it be sort of unimaginably exciting to have a President Obama, but also it will be just about the biggest relief in the world to have our long national Republican nightmare come to an end (indeed some columnists are predicting it would be pretty much the end for the GOP as we know it)—and that part would be true if any Democrat were elected president. See? Whereas if, God forbid, Obama loses, which looks extraordinarily unlikely (538's currently got Obama's odds of winning at 98.9%), then it will not only be a huge disappointment to see one of the greatest-ever American presidential candidates brought down, and not only will we all have the rug pulled out from under us (again), but we'll be looking down the barrel of what will suddenly at least appear to be an absolutely invincible Republican Party—not only that, but the very worst aspects of the Republican Party (Sarah Palin almost makes Dick Cheney look like an American hero to me)—and an America that will have pretty much been proved beyond further doubt to be exactly the conservative stronghold that the GOP's propaganda has been painting it to be all these years. So it's like... call it a win-win/lose-lose situation?
Whatever the results tonight, there's basically no way I'm going to be able to handle the intense emotion, and my head is pretty much guaranteed to explode. That's just the way it is. Here's hoping it's an awesome explosion instead of a miserable one.
Stanley Fish—who (I believe because of his postmodernist beliefs) is often a real pain in the ass but is also sometimes just brilliantly wonderful and great*—compared Obama's strategy against McCain to Jesus' strategy against Satan in Milton's Paradise Regain'd. Two things about this delighted me. First, that it was completely true. (As Fish is careful to say, it's not that Obama is Jesus or that McCain is Satan,** just that the battle has been eerily similar to theirs.) Second, and this has nothing to do with politics, I find it amusing to be reminded that this is one "famous" work of literature that no one in the world except for an English major would ever have any reason to read.
What else qualifies as a reference that none but an English major would really get? Maybe The Faerie Queene? Troilus and Cressida, even? English majors, I invite you to comment on this post and help compile a list of Books Nobody but an English Major Would Ever Read.
Hillary would've lost. I'm just sayin'.
* He's the one who finally converted me from a party-line kind of well-I-guess-that's-probably-right-although-secretly-I'm-not-quite-as-sure supporter of affirmative action to a holy-shit-you're-right-that-totally-makes-sense supporter of affirmative action—and, more specifically, the idea (which, again, I always figured I supported but couldn't 100% rationally justify) that "the N-word" is just plain worse than cracker, honky, whitey, or indeed any anti-white slur that you could come up with. (I can explain if anyone's curious. Basically I assume it's obvious and that I was just slow.)
** Although of course it's not that they're not, either.