On the George Washington Birch Project: Final Pre-Election Analysis

03Nov08

In which The Gay Recluse becomes increasingly obsessed with the city.

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More than any other candidate in recent history, Barack Obama can be considered a product of the city.

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And not just because he’s black, obvs, but because he lives in a city and seems to genuinely appreciate its fundamental character, not only in a positive sense — i.e., the cultural and economic engine it represents, the environmental efficiencies, etc. — but also negative, i.e., the recognition that on some level, cities are ungovernable. To live in one requires a degree of faith completely lacking in the fundamentalists who ironically enough like to criticize city dwellers as godless.

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This is why, in the wake of 9/11, the Wall Street Journal ran op-eds wistfully suggesting that perhaps it would be better to dismantle the cities, that the United States would be better off — safer — as a giant suburb. (Or see all of the horrendous articles that NYT columnist/blowhard David Brooks wrote a few years ago romanticizing “the exurbs”: funny how he doesn’t seem to mention these much anymore!) Whatevs, the bottom line is that McCain/Bush Republicans fear things they can’t control, whereas Obama seems to accept — and even embrace — uncertainty as a necessary consequence of what cities offer. This is one of the reasons his brand of “hope” carries a somewhat more (if not totally) believable quality; it’s rooted in a pragmatism familiar to anyone who has say, ridden the subway more than once or twice or stood in line for an hour at the post office just to mail a package.

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Remember to look at a voting map next week: the true red-versus-blue will have nothing to do with state lines, but everthing to do with the cities.

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This should be some consolation, even if Obama loses.

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There are many things beyond the grasp of conservative politicians, and the beautiful, angry chaos of the city is at the top of the list.

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One Response to “On the George Washington Birch Project: Final Pre-Election Analysis”

  1. Well put!

    John

    PS The images are back in the emails. I have no idea why they went away, nor why they are back. Just glad they are.

    JAF


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