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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


This should be some consolation, even if Obama loses.


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.

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

  1. Well put!


    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.


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