I was going to call this piece “Why I am Democratic,” since those reasons seem pretty etched in my soul. I grew up in the seventies and from a young age I’ve been exposed to, even part of, American groups of people under very dire circumstances. So, the Democratic Party speaks more for me in regards to helping the truly underprivileged, among other things.
But as I began writing, it became clear how much of what I “feel” about the party, these days, is related to Obama.
Folks, I am not a wonk with a political blog, but I am a creative writer, follow daily political news, and I have a kind-of cliche artistic focus and angst about how the world is carrying on. Sometimes that means I see people or things as caricatures.
Which is how I see the 2012 election.
For decades now, really my entire western pop cultural upbringing, we’ve been exposed to a kind-of pre-Romney media caricature. Swinging away on golf courses during the Caddyshacks of our youth, these bloviating, (usually) Republican politicians or CEOs of something, are etched in our imagination, usually negatively.
Yet half of the country will vote for one of these guys.
Let’s look from their side, at the caricature of Obama.
His is not quite as extreme as Romney’s, with one startling exception. He’s both black and white. So there’s that, and many of the usual right-wing and Kumbaya attacks. He’s a socialist, an apologist, anti-God, soft on this and that, etc.
Then there’s the larger caricature of this all happening during the “Great Recession” with many of the same political battles being waged in very deja-vu circumstances, by the same parties as during the Great Depression. Tonite I watched a rally where Bruce Springsteen performed for Obama. The Woody Guthrie of our times? Of course not, but certainly an American populist hero on his own.
So, you know what they say about stereotypes, that they’re rooted in truth. Yes, I’m a sensitive artist and get all gushy when Bruce Springsteen twangs about “taking care of our own”, and I get thrilled watching how Obama’s fans rush him with their smartphones. But before Obama it had been a long time since I felt affection for a candidate.
I believe Obama cares about people, more than his personal agenda. That’s pretty huge. Yes, there’s a lot of talk about disappointment in his first term, but what an impossible situation he was in. One side treated him like Jesus and the other like the devil. He was bound to come down/up to earth for them, and just be human.
A very good human, I believe.