Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Hour is at Hand

The final debate behind us, the campaigns wind it up for the final stretch to the finish. Polls give the  win in last night's foreign policy debate to Obama, but so far there seems to be little movement in the support for either candidate. Positions are locked in. The few undecided have gone to ground, sick of being harassed by activists from both camps. We had one car pull up yesterday while I was raking leaves in my torn jeans and red plaid farmer's jacker I picked up at the swap shop. It was a Subaru town car with Massachusetts plates. Two older guys about my age, with clipboards. One had a foreign accent, somewhere between French and Eastern European. Both of them very tentative, almost strange, not to say out of place and off-putting. When I expressed my support for Obama, the one with the strange accent looked at me for a long time and then said slowly, Thank you. Thank you, in an unsmiling, unironic voice. As if I had done something grand and important that the larger world would one day be grateful for. Something beyond my station. I said You're welcome and we stared at each other a while longer. I thought to myself, Barack's in trouble if these guys keep going. Maybe I can convince them to turn around and drive home. Don't they have a Concord office? I asked. Yes, but if we don't come, then who will? asked the man with the foreign accent. Then I understood. This was a dangerous brave mission into the hinterland because the hour was at hand. I thought of a term I remembered from my days working with environmental groups. The tyranny of the volunteer. Well-intentioned amateurs who bungle the work, but nobody will stop them because after all, nobody is getting paid to do this. Anyway, eventually they left. Hopefully they drove home before they could turn off many more people with their air of astronauts descending on an alien planet.

But in all seriousness, did you not love the look of Barack in the debate, the intense, exalted focus? Here is a guy who could go into battle no questions asked. No chicken hawk posing, no faux saber rattling. Romney kept it under control, pitching for the female vote this go-around. But he showed his true colors manipulating some meaningless statistics regarding boats in the Navy. Come on, people! This is a guy who will say anything to get a vote. A shyster salesman who trumpets false statistics to spread a sense of panic that our Navy is about to go under because there were more boats in 1916. Imagine if Barack had pulled something like that. It would be all over but the shouting. There is definitely a residual, racial double standard in operation. And the irony is, we have a true warrior in the White House now by the grace of God, not some manicured suit.
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