my Dear John election

Last night, when the ones who decide such things announced that Barack Obama would become the next president, I hear that the country — and parts of the world — erupted in cheers, tears, and hugs of joy. In my living room, I just sat there, staring blankly at the TV.  It didn’t seem real, and I felt profoundly disconnected from the excitement pictured there. I tried to summon some emotion — our guy won!  Nothing.

I wandered upstairs, where Mikey was watching the election aftermath in the office.  He looked at me and asked, “what’s wrong?” but I didn’t know.  The only word that came to mind was bereft.  I went to bed, and sometime around midnight, while I was staring morosely into the darkness, I finally found words for this strange depression.

While the election was still going on, there was a chance for John McCain to come back from crazytown.  There was a chance for him to once more be that guy I wanted to vote for in 2000, who actually merited the now-infamous label “maverick,” and who publicly stood up to the administration about headliner issues.  I was so excited when I first heard that McCain would be running again — I liked him, and I had so much respect for him.  And then when he hit that turning point in his campaign, deciding to “win at any cost,” it felt very much like a betrayal.  How could I vote for a guy who puts “women’s health” in derisive air quotes and who purposefully misrepresents a program that would teach children to protect themselves against sexual predators?  What happened to the guy I knew before?  I can’t help thinking that John McCain 2000 would kick this guy’s ass just on principle.

So when I voted for Obama, I did so largely because I couldn’t in good conscience allow the country to go to the man his opponent had become.  It wasn’t as bad as my “Anyone but Bush” Kerry vote in 2004, but there was an element of the same idea in my decision.  I was glad other people agreed with me, but for some reason I just couldn’t muster the wild elation that gripped everyone else when we actually realized our goal.

I said as much to Mikey this morning, and he laughed a little.  “Are you breaking up with John McCain?”

And when he put it like that, I guess I am.

I can’t keep hanging onto what has essentially become a bad relationship, hoping one day he’ll recognize the error of his ways and come back to me (or at least apologize for being such a petty dick).  It’s a bittersweet day as I let go of any hope for my old candidate and move on to embrace the bright new world of the Obama Nation.

No jubilant ululation for me yet.  It seems inappropriate somehow, as if I’m dancing on a man’s grave.  RIP, McCain That Was?



  1. freundlyfolk said,

    November 6, 2008 at 11:07 am

    this may come as a bit of a shock to you, but i can feel your pain, chickie. my happy thought when kerry lost in 2004 was that maybe 2008 would give us this fantastically awesome ticket of biden and mccain, a bipartisan powerhouse that would finally unite (untie?) the nation. biden/mccain ’08, i thought. it will be glorious.

    then john mccain jumped the short bus to crazytown.

    when he gave his concession speech tuesday night, i cried. there was the noble man i’d been missing. shame that he’d been buried under the desperation of a losing campaign, but it brought about some sort of closure to see him that night…

  2. perhapsody said,

    November 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I hatched something of a conspiracy theory this morning. I wonder if McCain threw the election? Cus that shift in his personality came soon after the GOP nomination, and I’m wondering if he wanted out, but couldn’t just quit (especially after his failed attempt last time). It would make his choice of VP a lot less left-field — it always baffled me that a man with McCain’s political savvy would pick Ms. Unknown from Nowhere to complete his ticket. But if you were trying to throw your campaign, she’d sure do the trick. So he picks her, he acts like an insensitive dick, pooh-poohs some hot button issues, and gets to finish his campaign without looking like he just gave up.

    Right? It could happen…right? It’s all been an elaborate ploy!

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