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A fresh face

By Michael J. Smith on Tuesday November 4, 2008 06:00 PM

Election day. Record turnouts, or so they say, and I can well believe it. Everybody I encountered today seemed very jazzed-up.

Seen from a remote, intergalactic distance -- my preferred viewpoint, when I can manage it -- this makes a kind of sense. The country's in a desperate state (thanks to tireless bipartisan efforts over the last, what, eight, sixteen, twenty-eight, forty years?). People are worried, frustrated, keenly aware that the pooch can't take much more screwing.

How fortunate for our rulers that this hundred-year flood of discontent has, once again, been safely channeled into the storm-sewer of the Democratic Party. No structures are in danger. Traffic is moving normally. Stay tuned for the stock market report at 6.

* * * * *

I broke my usual rule, yesterday, and talked about the election with an old friend of mine. She's an old enough friend that she knows my views and, though she doesn't share them, she's kind enough to make allowances. But still. It makes her a little evasive and squirrelly on the rare occasions when the subject does come up.

So -- I asked -- explain it to me. Why Obama? I just don't hear the music. Why bother? Enlighten me. Seriously.

(I meant it, too. Seriously).

Her response, after some hemming and hawing:

-- You know, it's time for a new face. Not another tired, sclerotic old white guy. A woman woulda been nice too, but this is really, like, a huge step.

This got me thinking. A fresh face. Let's give our blood-spattered, cannibal-toothed old Empire a more attractive spokesperson.

My friend is a good-hearted individual and she doesn't approve of imperial blood-spattering and flesh-eating; and she's well-informed enough to know that our empire has done its share of these disagreeable practices. I don't think she really, rationally expects the empire under Obama to be that different.

But I suspect that on some half-conscious level she thinks, or hopes, that Dr Jekyll will soak into the fibers of Mr Hyde and transform him into a better global citizen.

It will be nice if she's vindicated. But the original story didn't turn out that way; and I've always felt that Stevenson is a very underrated writer.

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