October 24, 2008

Special Political Editorial: Our Endorsement for President of the United States

Good Morning, It Was Lost Nation. Many of you, our loyal readers, will know that in previous years, we have stayed quiet thru elections, perhaps subtly hinting at things to undermine candidates like Richard Pombo, but never wishing to alienate a portion of our diverse demographic by going all hippy-lefty & outright suggesting to vote for the Democrats. In breaking with tradition, the Editors at Itwaslost.org, after not sleeping for most of October & chain-smoking cigarettes on black & white 35mm film, have collaborated on this short argument for the difficult choice you must make on November 4th. It is a close election, with the Democratic Challenger running a mere 14-points ahead in the opinion polls, & conservative pundits acting like albino wallaroos, dabbing their bleached rhinariums with their handkerchiefs & wishing they were kangaroos.

We like Barack Obama’s compelling candidacy because we believe that he reads books. He has shown himself to be a human being of exemplary intelligence in a nation & an era where intelligence is considered suspect. Is it some mistake that Senator Obama reads? That he urges us to read? That he reads to his children & urges us to read to our children? What does reading have to do with future generations (beyond ensuring that they will know which bus they are riding on)? Senator Obama has repeatedly, in his writings & in interviews, emphasized the importance of empathy. Didn’t Charles Dickens spread empathy to the British people by writing intimately of the lives of London’s poor & then selling his writings to the middle & upper classes. Literacy is a gateway to the empathetic capacity. Thus, true intelligence, & the preservation of our nation’s promise, depend upon the literacy of the people. In one of Norman Mailer’s old letters published in The New Yorker a few weeks ago, he mourned the loss of JFK because “Kennedy was givi
ng a great boost to the arts, not because Jackie Kennedy was inviting Richard Wilbur to the White House, but somehow the lid was off, & now I fear it’s going to be clamped on tight again.” Has it really now been on for forty-five years?

We're picking our own president in our own election. We need to listen to ourselves. Maybe if we met ourselves today, we wouldn't like ourselves. Weigh up the presidential tasks, calculate their impact, throw in Abu Ghraib photographs, affix an occupation of Iraq, add Gitmo, append oratory skills or complete lack thereof, & you'll see the sum of presidential decision-making is a part of our own self-image in that old modernist way, the imagined community called nation, or Nation. Two-hundred thousand people turned up
in Berlin to tell us they know we used to be better, nicer, & smarter. They want to friend us on Facebook. They'd like to share a pitcher at pub quiz sometime. They want to cat-sit when we're out-of-town. So they held an intervention.

It is true that we fly several large American flags outside of the itwaslost.org hq in Imaginary America, & that our pet interventionist eagle is named Woodrow, but these are mere superficial displays of our love of American iconography. We are patriots but not nationalists. Nationalism & the Fascism it spawns shadow the horizons of America today. The line between Patriotism & Nationalism is drawn by intelligence, which acts as safeguard against Fascism in it’s many manifestations. We are almost certainly elitists of course, but abundant, generous elitists with ties to our community, both our Hood & our Imaginary Community.

Community is Not a Word. Community is a life force, like a plant or an ant or a little boy, or yogurt. I know that recently words & communities have been reduced to punch lines of the scornful & lonely, the desperate & angry, those in the shadow of the current sunshine we will call Barack Obama. Well we am here to tell you that what Barack "Sunshine" O'bama cares about are communities, not words. If he had a choice, he would certainly leave words where they belong: pinned up under Karl Rove's dark cloak of infinite meaning, not within the public sphere or even in casual conversation.

Obama is not a wordologist, as some may have us believe. He is a community man & as I have pointed out "Community" isn't even a word, it simply is. Words do not even exist until some foolish wordy wordsmith forces them into our comfortable word-free living rooms, & we am talking about things that exist, like Barack Obama & America's Democracy &c. Community is a natural phenomenon, a constant.
Barack does not actually speak or write, he believes in communities & the operating functionaries of these systems - me! you! your mother! your plants & your goddamned brother & all those people who live very close to you but who you would never dare speaking to. Senator Obama just believes & suddenly so do other people. Nobody talks, Nobody recites, Nobody tells jokes, Nobody mistakes Muslims for terrorists, or Christians for Muslims, or critical thinking for anti-americanism, or being sexy for irresponsibility and naïveté. No! Nobody uses words. Words use us.

So, what creates a robust new economy? Communities! What is ever more important in this rapidly expanding network of lives? The smallest of those networks: Communities! (& fungus) What will make us happy & teach us what to remind ourselves of? Communities! What will it take to understand that we are not our own terribly misunderstood joke? Barack Obama! Senator Obama is a flower on the dubious fruit that’s come from centuries of Western thought. He is the marvelous crystal left in the track of colonial & imperial histories (his Kenyan grandfather, a cook to the British nobleman)- these histories which proved to be mighty perversions of the bejeweled & transformative potential of Western thought.

We want to tell you why you should vote Obama-Biden using the only physical word in the English language: because. Because Barack, like you, has moved around a lot & doesn't like the sound of his own name. Because Barack has what all Americans increasingly have:
multiple origins, fluid identities, the arduous state of being many things while never wholly one thing. Because Barack Obama reads books.

Vote for Barack because of the Obama-Biden ticket. Because Joe Biden commutes to work on the train, which means Joe is clever & reads a lot, because when you commute in a car or bus, you can't read without crashing or getting motion sickness. Because Joe reads. Because Joe's son is on the board at Amtrak. Because Joe doesn't just appreciate public transit, he depends on it to get to work & back. Sure, trains are rarely profitable, but highways have never been profitable & they waste a lot more money than trains & they ugly up our cities. The average interstate junction costs thirty million dollars per year to maintain, which is far more than it costs to run those tiny platforms that Amtrak calls a station. Have you ever communicated with your neighbor driving next to you on the freeway? No! You can’t! So when you walk to your polling center on Tuesday, November 4th, think of your children’s futures, think of the Imaginary America, & most of all, think the words you have memorized in this essay & this inexorable argument.

-The Editors


ß. Andrigon said...

I'm surprised no one has pointed out how fucking cute that albino wallaroo is.

grainne proinseas said...

my mom pointed it out, but only on the phone with me and not in the comments section.

Olaf Mary said...

i pointed it out to someone who was in the same room with me, but i didn't register in this interworldblog

Brains said...

Said I would. I printed it out, folded it like a pamphlet Thomas Paine style, and handed it out to myself. That's how much I like this inexorable argument.

ß. Andrigon said...

I look forward to reading it in three years, as they prepare to run against Obama, & seeing how it holds up. My mom referred to it as "your rambling political commentary". Well, when they write our biographies, at least they can't complain that we didn't pamphleteer.