Sunday, November 09, 2008


i was having trouble sleeping for weeks leading up the election, petrified that it would be lost or stolen like past elections or a winning lottery ticket you had to wait to cash in. like everyone else around me, i had been following this election like a sport, glued to my computer, the refresh button overused as i searched for more stories to read, more polls to follow, more videos to watch.

even when i was disgusted by the campaigning, my obsession didn’t wane. at night, on the occasion i could sleep, i would dream about it, both nightmares and fantasies imagining the what ifs. i even had some wet dreams about the irresistibly sexy Obama, whose baby i’m aching to have. i also got in the habit of calling Mo “Morack,” telling him he should call me Michelle and we should rename our two female dogs, Juice and Pinko, after the Obama girls. Morack disagreed, and instead hung a framed Shepard Fairey Obama poster in the office.

i’m embarrassed to admit this, but i was a big Hillary supporter during the primaries. i preferred her to Obama because of her experience and because her election would have brought Bill back to the white house. i wanted to see both of them in there again, re-establishing the feel-good 1990s. i felt pretty good back then in my pre-9/11 college world, learning about life and this new thing called email.

but now i see that those days and that dynasty are past. the future needs something better, something different. i also see that Hillary could have never pulled off a win the way Obama did. for all the talk of Obama’s ability to transcend race, motivating people of all stripes to stand in line waiting for hours to cast their vote for him, the polarizing Hillary could never transcend herself. she simply wasn’t likable enough. she was missing the Clinton charisma gene that both Bill and Obama have in spades. it’s the same gene that Dubya and Sarah Palin have, the one that makes people flock to them for their ordinariness and relatability. i liked Hillary alright, but she wasn’t inspiring. she wasn’t transformational. she wasn’t Obama.

i didn’t like Sarah Palin, though i will miss her. she was the source of so much comic relief during this tense election cycle that her absence will leave a tangible void. part of me would like to see her return in 2012, if only for the SNL skits to resurface, but the bigger part of me would like to see her fall into the abyss she’s been skating around for months, never to be seen or heard from again. because for all the progress Hillary’s campaign made for women in politics, Sarah Barracuda’s weak intellect and hot legs took us about a mile back.

i’m also sad that my fellow Californians passed Proposition 8, effectively outlawing gay marriage and ruining my opportunity to pitch to cable networks reality shows like “Gay Divorce Court” and “Groomzilla.” thanks, California. you suck. not only did you ruin my chance to be a hollywood asshole, you ruined my post-election day euphoria. thanks also for allowing me the opportunity to say for the first time in my adult life that i’m proud to be an american but ashamed to be a californian. usually, the inverse is true.

but back in good news land, Obama is still our president, or will be soon enough. part of me feels bad for him, because who really wants the task of navigating through this lousy time in our country’s history? the pressure alone would overwhelm anyone. add to that the fact that the world is watching us again with renewed interest, expecting him to be flawless and swift in undoing the past eight years of damage.

to that end, i wish him luck and support, and a bit of worry. after all, i’m jewish and i worry about everything. plus, he is unproven as a leader and the crises before him are huge. but i have every confidence in the world that he will deliver in the way that overachievers tend to deliver. Obama seems exceptional in that way.

to be honest, he’s the kind of person i would secretly, slightly hate, the one who makes hard work look effortless and always says the right thing at the right time. he’s the type to never look sweaty, only virtuous and self-possessed, with a magnetism that generates an adoring fan base that will follow him into a burning building if he says that it will be ok. i’m part of that fan base now. and as much as i’d like to break free, as much as i’d like to know better than to be so taken with a politician, i’m as hypnotized as the sheep beside me. he’s just that good.

so if you’re reading this, soon-to-be president Obama, i would like to say a few things. first off, i’d be thrilled to have your baby or at least live out some of my sexier dreams about you. also, you spent two years at Occidental College, which is right by my house. i’m sorry that it was too hard for you and you had to transfer to the Ivy League Columbia, where the curriculum is so much easier, but at least you and i lived in the same neighborhood. i know it was at different times but that’s not important.

what is important is that you don’t ruin the country (anymore) or disappoint me and the scores of others who have been inspired by your dedication, discipline and humility. i’ve spent eight years with low morale, feeling defenseless and expecting to be lied to by a government motivated more by self-interest than by ethics. but you have renewed my faith in democracy and my celebration of my country as something limitless and fantastic.

thank you for making me a proud american again, an immigrant american who came here with my family at age 3, hopeful for the opportunity to achieve the american dream that makes this place so magical in the eyes of so many around the world. the same world that’s celebrating you now as we are, unified by optimism for the future, by hope.

your victory is a victory for my white immigrant family as much as it is for blacks, asians, latinos, persians, disenfranchised democrats, jews, muslims, gays and anyone else who is part of that growing demographic of “other” americans who saw ourselves in you. your election has affirmed us, reminding us that yes, we, too, can overcome the insurmountable to achieve the impossible, because you just did.

(take note, California.)

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