I’ve been kind of focused on the election crap these past couple weeks, like most people. I’m hesitant to go into much political discussion here because there is enough of it out there, and I’m hardly qualified to be a political analyst (or an opinionated shockmeister as many of them are).
But I do think it’s interesting that Obama is leading in the polls, and that this is inspiring an increasingly desperate and angry din from the right wing folk. I’m not talking about fiscal conservatives or middle of the roaders, but the really scary citizens who actually think Obama is either a:
d.) Person who wants to take away all my money
e.) Person of Color
OK, we know he is half black…but I think the other accusations above are on the silly side.
We’ve all heard disturbing reports about GOP crowds shouting “kill him” or “get him” or whatever it is. You can argue about whether or not this poses an actual security threat, but the point is that having a black president scares the crap out of a lot of people. This fear is easily converted to anger, and most aren’t afraid to show it. I won’t go into all the sordid details – you all presumably have access to the Internets (but the small child at the McCain/Palin rally holding the Curious George doll comes to mind).
Still, while white racists try to outdo themselves by sinking to new lows in public, Obama keeps ascending in the polls. This does not necessarily mean he’s going to win the election, but it is most certainly a gauge of current public opinion. I came to the realization last week that even if Obama should lose the election (or the republicans pull some kind of Black Ops trickery at the polls like they have been known to do in the past), this antiquated mode of thinking – that America belongs to white people and diversity only weakens us as a nation – is on its way out. The times are changing, and these pink faces shouting “kill him!” are the last of a dying breed. We are witnessing the death throes of American racism, the extreme right wing, or whatever you want to call it. It may not happen with this election, but the fact that someone like Obama (not just a man of mixed race, but a relatively young, intelligent and level headed person) could get this far is nothing short of revolutionary considering this country’s often embarrassingly violent past.
Which brings us to Steely Dan. I won’t pretend that I know what these guys were thinking when they wrote “Change of the Guard,” which appears on their debut LP Can’t Buy a Thrill from 1972. But listening to the song today, it sounds like they could be describing the current political climate. Thus, I leave you with the words of Donald Fagen:
“All the cowboys and your neighbors
Can you swallow up your pride
Take your guns off if you’re willin’
And you know we’re on your side
If you wanna get thru the years
It’s high time you played your card
If you live in this world
You’re feelin’ the change of the guard”
(Video from Krolblach)
There is, of course, a more sinister interpretation of this song, suggesting that it describes some sort of fascist agenda – but let’s assume it does not. For once, I am bored with cynicism.