November 6th, 2008

History Is A Nightmare From Which I Have Now Awakened

This morning I read the Times, Washington Post, and dozens of the progressive blogs, not skipping a single one that dealt with the election, because deep down I guess I still retained an irrational fear that Barack Obama did not, in fact, just get elected president of the United States. After all, in the past eight years under Bush the Republicans have always found a way to get what they wanted, including bald-faced stealing and lying. Could it be true that these moral bankrupts have now been overwhelmingly repudiated by a majority of Americans?

On the eve of the election Glenn Greenwald at Salon said he planned to watch Fox News as results came in, just to see those neocon freaks finally confronted with a defeat of enormous magnitude.

Well, I did switch over a couple of times and to my utter amazement Fox called Pennsylvania for Obama about ten minutes before CNN and MSNBC. Plus I even witnessed the great neocon fascist genius Karl Rove say—before 11 PM—that with the loss of Pennsylvania, he just couldn’t see how McCain could win. But after that eerie strangeness I returned to David Gregory and Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, etc. Felt like being among friends when the final result came in.

At 8 PM I was disappointed that no sign of a landslide was apparent, and as time dragged on and on I started to get depressed. I simply could not imagine a McCain win, but so far I hadn’t heard any reassuring messages. After all, as one of the MSNBC commentators said, not a single red state had yet been flipped blue.

Two minutes to 11 PM, the mood on both MSNBC and CNN seemed to me way too subdued, which for me was an extraordinarily bad sign. But then on the dot of 11, exactly, came the words….I don’t recall them precisely, but it must have been something like “MSNBC projects Barack Obama as winner of the presidential election…”

I didn’t see it coming just then, no, I was blown over. It was just too unexpected. I thought they’d call California for Obama, and then Washington and Oregon…but BANG. It was over. A done deal. This cake is BAKED!

Oh, the wild cheering in Chicago and all over the country. Leaps for joy, and then the tears on Jesse Jackson’s face, that icon of the 60s and the Civil Rights battles, a man almost lost in that big, exuberant Chicago crowd.

I felt numb, elated, and choked up. Attention deficit disorder nearly paralyzed my brain. Too much input. Hard to accept those rapidly changing joyful images as REAL. More like a dream.

But then, yes, for sure it was real. There were not the usual cautionary words like “This is only a projection, not a report of actual votes.” No, Barack won. And he was in a limo on its way to Grant Park. John McCain was expected to give his concession speech within the hour.

Still hard to believe.

But of course I really do believe. At last. To paraphrase James Joyce, "History is a nightmare...from which I have now awakened."