keeping my nose clean

Though several days have passed since the election of the Next President of the United States, I haven’t updated since, and so: My guy won! Woohoo!

While most of the sappy weepy yet elegant historically significant emotions have stabilized, the high and hopefulness continue—but.yet.and so does my hesitancy to throw myself into full-blown optimism. S’bleak out there, man. With the collapsing economy and our ill standing among other nations, an environment oozing wounds and wars still waging, I temper my expectations, and not only because of the rough and ragged state we’re in. I have forgotten what it’s like to have a leader I believe in.

I feel like I’m escaping an abusive relationship. I don’t know how to trust, how to listen without assuming I’m being lied to, forces dark and heavy tied to every move this cretin government makes. The Bush Administration has made me paranoid, cynical and inherently suspicious, always trying to suss the secret agenda, the manacles behind the curtain, whichever way the wind blows the windfalls today, smoke up our assets while other wallets get fat.

Now out with the old and in with the new, or so it goes, or does it. I am an Obama supporter 100 percent, but still cautious in my homage and growing concerned about the swelling cult of personality, the seas of people seizing this black-and-white notion of history (ha! I’m so on my game) as though politics, society and culture were ever that simple. Black president = all better. Democrat = all better. All bitter = all better. Next stop, bliss.

I don’t fear Obama will turn into a not-so-secret Muslim terrorist Antichrist socialist. I fear he will become just a man. Imperfect, yes, fine, welcome. But susceptible to greed and corruption. Powerless against inflation and inflated expectations. Susceptible to sniper scopes, dashing hopes and dreams of unity.

Sigh. Oh well. I can’t help but look forward, take a helping of belief: things will improve. Not all at once, and not everything. But things will get better.

As an aside, this entire election season and especially toward the end, the internet was double-fisting awesomeness. Despite living in Canada I was able to follow online with relative precision the issues that interested me, from national contests to local referendums.

Naturally I was into the Minnesota competitions (with the senate race still going on, heh), but it was cool to see more obscure races brought to the fore as never before. From campaign commercials and news broadcasts I don’t get in BC to some of the most wicked hilarious and creative photochopped and captioned reimagining of events, I felt… there. Included. Cheering and groaning along with everyone else. Thanks, Al Gore!

On a related note, my video “An American Abroad” was favorited by PBS’s Video Your Vote project and made it to the front page of YouTube for a couple of days, garnering me some short-lived goofball fame. It went from 350 views to 4500 overnight and leapt by the thousands from there. I’m currently grasping near 100,000.

While certainly an ego-trip in a general sort of way, it also feels plain good—and profoundly. I created the video chiefly to be silly and to celebrate voting, but also to channel my election alienation. As connected the internet made me feel, I was simultaneously isolated from the election experience. Cheesy but true: I wanted to express myself, sharing both my moping and uncontrollable excitement with my family and friends. To have this pool explode into a worldwide audience of tens of thousands of viewers has been surreal and affirming—for me as a person, an American, a Minnesotan, an expatriate new patriot and an artist crazy dancer.

My vote counted 96,609 times. Right now in Minnesota, they’re counting it again, both sides making a ridiculous mess of it, yes, but nonetheless… I couldn’t be more pleased.

Hooray for me! Hooray for Obama! Yay, America! Yay!

In other news, I went to Tofino last weekend and saw the open ocean, and this pile of weird.

Here’s Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest on Vancouver Island, also experienced on the trip.

A number of jack-o-lanterns crowded around the entrance to Cathedral Grove, as well as lined the highway in patches here and there, little carved clusters of crooked grins and mischief. I loved it.




  • Vesper de Vil

    November 23, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I’m pretty much in the exact same place as you…loving Obama from a comfortable distance. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    January 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm


    I can’t believe how precisely you captured the surreal feeling I’ve been experiencing since November (and still, since January 20), even though the ensuing activity in D.C. has been very reassuring and even giddy-making in its … well, can I use the word audacity?

    Setting up Guantanamo for closure on day 1. Officially stating on day 2 what should have been standard policy all along, a presumption that the American people should have access to our government’s information, rather than the opposite. Signing into law a bill that makes it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work, just a week into office.

    Uneasiness may have been conditioned into us, but trust may return to our consciousness eventually. Thank you for being so clear and open in your thinking about this.


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