Posted by: jt | June 10, 2008

a little too ironic

Amber took this picture…

…across the street from the old slave market in Louisville, Georgia.

She sent it to me for the irony and because of my deep and abiding love of that song from Team America: World Police.

As awesome as I think this picture is, it’s incredibly difficult for me to verbalize the simultaneous revulsion, shame and hope that it symbolizes for me. I want to say that the irony of this sign and its placement speaks for itself, but that feels like a cop-out and frankly, I know that I have readers for whom it won’t.

Unto the breach…

This is a 2004 campaign sign – an election that flaunted a disdain, both in tenor and in practice, for freedoms and rights that were once considered fundamental to American ideology. My revulsion toward that election, for both the Bush and Kerry campaigns*, cannot be overstated. Whatever respect I still clung to for my country, after four hard years of the Bush Administration, was lost on November 2, 2004.

Across from a former slave market – this sign marks an election that shamefully turned away thousands of registered black voters, just like we did in 2000. Freedom isn’t free. Apparently, it costs folks like African Americans, who just shouldn’t expect to vote in Florida or Ohio. Silly black voters. Votes are for white people! Maybe we should just turn back the clock and not allow any black people to vote until they learn how to vote the right way. This is also a sign that stood in support of a war that heralded the end of many freedoms previously ensured by American laws.

I’m tired of being ashamed of my country.

It’s been a long road back since November 2, 2004 when I watched We the People vote away our freedoms; vote away our rights; vote away our morals. The 2006 midterm elections helped a little bit when, with the assistance of actual media coverage (!) of Tom DeLay’s and Jack Abramoff’s criminal actions, a majority of the populace finally seemed to realize that, Hey, this bullshit we’ve been swallowing for the last six years – it kinda stinks! But it’s hard to recover from watching your country throw away any sort of credibility and actual leadership we once had on torture, free elections, the right to a speedy trial, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, freedom of speech, the right to privacy…

It’s hard.

And yet, I have hope. I have to. Because We the People will go to the polls again in five months. And this time, it can be different. We can do this. We can do better. We can be a better country. And we can have an election that isn’t rooted in the politics of fear and deliberate deception.

Fingers, toes, legs, arms, eyes, stars – crossed.

Barack Obama has proven that, regardless of how nasty and personal things get, he will not stoop to that level. He’s also showed a willingness and ability to take the attacks head-on and, with some degree of efficacy, dispute them. Hope.

John McCain has run ethical, issue-based campaigns in the past. He’s lost his identity at this point and is firmly entrenched (though rather unsuccessfully) in crazy base world, but still. Once upon a time he had principles. Perhaps we’ll see them again.

Hope. It’s not just a buzzword. It’s real. Kinda the way freedom used to be.

…………………..

*I worked my aforementioned curvaceous ass off for Kerry and Edwards in that election. Not only did they run the worst campaign imaginable, they lied to me. I earned the right to loathe and despise them. And I do. Passionately.

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Responses

  1. Wow… this was very poignant, and emotional to read. I’m not from Georgia, so while this may not hit me in quite the same way it hit you, I have been absolutely outraged that so many minorities are continuously denied their right to vote. The excuses are stupid, and those who support these outlandish tactics are merely perpetuating ignorance within this country. It truly is disgusting, and never could I have put it into words as well as you have.

  2. Thanks – what a nice comment.

    Amber sent me this picture months ago and I immediately replied with a “Can I blog this?!?!” but once I tried to post it, I realized I couldn’t bring myself to just go, Isn’t this hilarious? because it’s not. It is, but it’s not.

    To extend the irony, it’s absurd to me that progressives/liberals get characterized as being “unpatriotic.” My problem is that I do love this country. To quote Bono, “America is an idea.” We have stood for, and I have to believe will stand for again, such important ideas – that all people are created equal, that government should be of the people, by the people and for the people.

    I believe in those ideas. And that makes it so much harder when they’re trampled upon.

    Hope. It’s a scary thing.


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