Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Election Night :: Help Me Believe

‘…America, the Land of the Free, they said,
And of opportunity, in a just and a truthful way,
But where the president is never black, female or gay,
And until that day, you've got nothing to say
To me, to help me believe.’

- America Is Not The World, Morrissey

So here we are, at long last, just a handful of hours away from the very real possibility of America finally having something to say to Morrissey, to help him believe. That’s a pretty exciting prospect. How much more compelling an argument do you, my American readers, need, in order to cast your vote for Barack Obama?

Just imagine, after all these years, you will finally be offered the ear, and indeed the heart, of one of the greatest misanthropes of our time. Morrissey will listen to what you have to say and then, importantly, crucially, he will begin to believe. Of course, when this happens, presumably, Morrissey will no longer just sit around at home in his hemp tank top, spurning the company of peoplefolk, leafing listlessly through a copy of Lady Windermere's Fan and pushing a cold Linda McCartney sausage around a plate with a pearl-handled fork.

Rather, he will finally see the full potential of humankind. He will understand that human beings are not merely self-serving, terrified egotists and short-sighted egotistical terrorists who will happily trample all over one another in order to satisfy the small-minded desires of themselves and their own clan, but rather they are also - potentially - wonderful, giving, caring, selfless creatures who are prepared to go out of their way to help one another achieve the potential that each of them shares.

He may never write a decent song again, but to heck with it. It’ll be worth it.

And to make this happen, you, my American friend, must cast your vote for Barack Obama. If you haven’t already.

I’m sure you’ve seen this:

Please don’t let it be you.

It’s odd how much I want Barack Obama to win tonight.

Frankly, it scares me.

I was born just two years before Margaret Thatcher came to power. I had to wait till I was 19 before I got a sniff of a left wing government. The first time I voted was to help bring Tony Blair to power. I was so excited. I had never been that excited by politics before. Nor since, sadly. Indeed, my excitement, and the joy I felt when Tony Blair came to power was very short-lived.

It quickly became apparent that New Labour was not really anything to do with old Labour, and nothing at all to do with Socialism, of which I had always been rather fond. It wasn’t long at all before promises were broken, U-turns were made and bullshit and sleaze were just as evident under Labour as they had been for nearly two decades under the Conservatives.

In short, the last 11 years of ‘left wing’ government in this country has left me utterly cynical and disgustingly apathetic. Many, many times since Labour came to power I have told anyone that would listen that I hate politics, and that I despise politicians. And I blame this Labour government’s for that. They destroyed it for me.

But Barack Obama has got me excited again.

Which is why I’m scared. I’m scared that - like everyone else - he is going to allow power to corrupt.

I’m also scared he’s going to get shot before he can even start letting people down.

But what the hell. Life is full of fear, and life is full of disappointments. It’s also full of pleasant surprises, and hey, maybe this will be one of them.

And for that reason, I’m excited again. And I want to believe.

Please help me.

Now I’m going to go and get Keith, who is sitting upstairs being sad, and I’m going to make him come downstairs and watch the election coverage with me. I’ve got in some ironic food. I’ve got McCain Oven Chips, sixteen cans of Budweiser and some Oreos.


What can go wrong?

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eileen said...

I voted for Barack but I'm not optimistic. I've learned from American Idol that americans can't be trusted with their votes.

savannah said...

i voted for obama. he isn't the savior of america, but he damn sure is our last best hope to get us out of the mess the current administration has created, sugar! xox

just-thinking said...

I voted for Obama, as did my husband, my family, and most everyone I know. I never voted for Bush, and am seriously considering moving out of the US should McCain manage to get in office.

I do not trust the Republican Party, not after what Bush Jr. has done in the last 8 years. I am registered as an Independent, but I did not vote for a single Republican this election. None of them impressed me, and it would be a cold day in hell before McCain ever got my vote of approval.

Anonymous said...

i want to hope. i want to believe. the man speaks of vision and a brighter future. he has brought the youth out from under their beds to VOTE in droves. if elected, he may be the sole human who could start the long journey to repair our 'scorched earth' foreign policy blunders of the last 8 years... i want to believe...

but i'm afraid... this country can leave a big ol' steamer on my chest, and say 'of course i respect you, i didn't shit on your face, did i?'

(biting my nails in ohio)

Michael said...

Vamos Barack!

Kat said...

I would have voted for Obama, if I was American. And fingers crossed - I think he has got it!

However, a step forward this will be for America and indeed the world, I hope people dont vote/back him just because he is black. In my mind, that is just as bad as not voting for him because he is black.

Lauren said...

WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andy said...

I am writing this in Houston, and I am extremely drunk.

Thank you.

Sharon said...

It's half past midnight in my part of the US. And this has just been the loveliest night.

I was so afraid to be optomistic.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

Barack did it! Well, actually WE did it (the American supporters of Obama)... but he inspired us to it.

I'm with you BdJ on the 'enjoy it while it lasts, power corrupts, will he let us down' ride, but for now...I'm enjoying the hopefullness and buoyancy of my spirit.

And maybe I'll even go back for a visit!

Catofstripes said...

The news is out! He won, but what comes next? I think you're right to be scared.

MarkF said...

What amazes me about this is the fact that so many people who didn't care at all about politics got engaged in this election. Seeing people who haven't voted before, who wanted to stand for hours in a queue reminds us all just why people died in two world wars.

Rose said...

I voted for Barack Obama. :) As did most of my family.
I also cheered from my computer at work (I work in my local newspaper's newsroom), especially when my homestate of Delaware went blue with Obama-ness.
And then when the majority of the nation went blue, I cheered and jumped about.
The jumping about could have been from the sugar high I was on to keep myself awake.
I'm also not ashamed to say that I cried during his acceptance speech.
Aside from the hope and change and all that great jazz that comes with an Obama win, there is one main thing that I'm going to enjoy since he won: I won't have to hear that Palin woman ever again.
I'm crossing my fingers on this one.
That woman's voice sets my ears into seizures... if such a thing can happen.

Innocent Loverboy said...

I'm a far-left Socialist. Barack Obama isn't (in fact, some of what he says scares me, as there are hints of aggression against Iran and continuing to back Israel) - but, frankly, American needs him, if they're going to restore their reputation. I'm glad he won. I just hope he doesn't mess it up.

He's a smart guy, so he shouldn't. But you never know.

I was 11 when Blair came to power. I was suddenly disappointed that he wasn't really a Socialist. Thank Glod I didn't have to endure too much Thatcher. Being born in 1985 has its advantages.

Rhodri said...

Wasn't James Buchanan gay? Morrissey could do with revising the whole song.

Not sure what this whole "Sound Of The Smiths" advertising campaign is about on the London Underground. How many different ways can "How Soon Is Now" be packaged up before we stop wanting to buy it?

Best of! Most of!
Satiate the need
Slip them into different sleeves!
Buy both, and be deceived

He could do with revising that song, too.

Selena said...

Morrissey and you can BE EXCITED- Finally after 8 years and two elections, my country finally got the damn thing right.

If you think your excited- I'm bursting at all my respective seams.

It's a great day to be alive. Simply wonderful! Floating on clouds of hopes and possiblities- but yet- I am still very grounded that this is going to take a lot of work.

Yet, still, my cup overfloweth :-)

Anonymous said...

I understand being apathetic for so long. This is the most exciting election EVER and I feel energized and hopeful for the first time in YEARS!I didn't watch TV last night - I couldn't bear it - But when I got up this morning I turned on the TV, heard someone say, "President-Elect Obama," I let out a little joyful shriek and danced around in my pyjamas! This is huge! This is HISTORY! Yay!

Maria in Oregon

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

GObama! (not like you haven't heard that already!)

Anonymous said...

Don't mean to burst the bubble of many but I am intrigued at how Obama seems to be the answer to all local insecurities and wonder how long this honeymoon haze will last..

Selena said...

@ Anonymous...sorry if you are not meaning to be condescending and are just trying to save our little naive hearts from breaking, but it does come off as a little supercilious.

To think that all Americans aren't aware of the limitations of modern politics and the difficulty of the challenges facing the new President Elect, is wholly patronizing. We are not all country bumpkins with no grasp of how our government works. We can read and write and tie our shoes.(weird, I know)

I don't know where your from, but if it's not America, I can understand how Barack's being elected the 44th President of the United States, might not rouse a euphoric feeling within your heart. However, speaking for myself- as a young American Woman (of Mexican and Filipino decent), his election is not only the mark of the Bush era ending (the longest 8 years of my life), but of it giving way to this charismatic, youthful, INTELLIGENT politician who just so happens to be African American, gives me hope that my country is finally on a new path.

During the race in all honesty- my heart told me to judge based on platforms and realism. I was going to vote for Hillary- I think she had a slightly better Health Care plan and supported gay marriage, but she did not win the candidacy. So faced with alternatives- Barack became my candidate, I am not upset that this is the case or that he won.

This Election was filled with so many great moments. A black man and a Woman running for the chance to be our President. An black man winning that candidacy. A woman actually accepted by the conservative right to be their nominee for Vice President.

You might not have any idea what a big deal those things really are, maybe these things seem commonplace to you. However, their import to my country is not lost on me. Whether people choose to accept it or not they already represent steps in the right direction. Handholds to the mountain of change that a lot of people are so wary of.

Yes, I am completely aware that his promises and policies are limited, due to the constraints of Washington D.C. Obama is obviously a very talented politician, who follows many of the rules and conservative inhibitions of any politician. (AHEM- THAT'S POLITICS! IT HAS BEEN SINCE ROME) I will also hope that he might move even further left on some issues, now that he no longer has to pander to a wary and distrustful electorate.

History has always shown that what every President proposes on the campaign trail in order to prove themselves electable doesn't always (ever?) match up with what they propose once they've reached the office, which in general is seen as a negative by the masses. However, on my end I know that things are easier said then done and that answers do not lie in the OVAL office or congress alone.

They also lie within the people that make up the country, my country and I feel that Barack Obama will not try to silence our voices.I honestly believe that he has made it clear that he wants us all to take responsibility for ourselves.

I simply can't wrap my mind around this mockery of hope. This complete disdain for optimism. This all encompassing cynicism that has come out from under rocks and leaked through cracks of humanity during this election.

His win of the Presidency doesn't just change the tone of the oval office, but has, as newspapers around the world can attest, changed the tone GLOBALLY. Both as it relates to America's image and in the promise of achievement and the noble goal, however lofty or long term, of producing real change.

I suppose you are not incorrect in there being a honey moon phase, but as far as the larger picture is concerned, I think you're missing out on the most important thing. Belief is huge. Sometimes it is everything.

So, I say that I am not only going to enjoy this fleeting feeling of hope; I am going to grasp and clutch the idea that America can begin living up to it's promise with both hands.

If you could only feel the sense of unity and uplifted purpose in the air; It's a great thing and cause for rejoicing. I think we finally feel like we can breath in the possibilities and there is always something to be said for the possibilities.

Take care Anonymous- I guess we'll just wait out this 4 years and see.