A New Day: Feelings vs. Reason
I’m not prone to sentimentality. The subtitle of my site is "Feelings Are Stupid." However, the people of Brooklyn’s reaction to President-Elect Barack Obama was definitely something with which I was completely unfamiliar, and hence, may have had me feeling … Read More
I’m not prone to sentimentality. The subtitle of my site is "Feelings Are Stupid." However, the people of Brooklyn’s reaction to President-Elect Barack Obama was definitely something with which I was completely unfamiliar, and hence, may have had me feeling some feelings (I will admit to nothing). I voted for Obama, and subsequently wrote articles on this site about the meaninglessness of his New York Times endorsement, the public’s vapid demonization of his rival’s vice-presidential candidate and even how difficult it would be for someone to kill him. Earlier on Election Day, I wrote that there was nothing that I was anticipating more than the end of the campaign season because I was so sick of hearing about him.
Walking home from a friend’s house where I had watched the Election returns, I encountered people, New Yorkers no less, pouring into the streets in celebration. I have never been to New Orleans, but I imagine it’s a similar scene. At the intersection of 5th Avenue and Union Street in Park Slope, a crowd had gathered, hundreds deep. I commented to a police officer that was standing nearby that I had never seen anything like this before; it was like something you see on CNN or the BBC when the Prime Minister of some destabilized South Asian government is executed. It was like the video of the Iraqis pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein. The police officer shared my amazement, mentioning that maybe it was for real; maybe these people gathering in the street at 2:00 in the morning really did feel something linking them. Although I remained 100% confident that the people in front of me hated each other, and that the following morning they would go right back to quietly ignoring one another, I said nothing. The scene was awesome, in every sense of the word. Admittedly, I was pretty drunk from getting swept up in the excitement (although not enough not to notice that John McCain referred to black people as "them" during his concession speech), but I was nonetheless impressed with my fellow Brooklynites. This is only the second election in which I have been of age to vote, and who knows if I’ll even be alive to vote in the next one? But I’m fairly confident that the events of the night of November 4, 2008 will not be repeated in my lifetime. Of the U.S. Presidents past who have been considered despots in their time (your Lincolns, Roosevelts, Andrew Johnsons, etc.) I don’t see G.W. Bush joining them in their varying degrees of redemption. I’ve defended him in the past, but at this point there’s no denying it: America is in the midst of a tumultuous period in its history, one that may one day even be viewed in retrospect as the worst in history. However, the new guy, a black guy, is an inspiration to the masses, and a refreshing change to the status quo. It will be interesting to see how this works out, but last night, I let the people have their fun. P.S.: I also totally high-fived a black guy last night. It was awesome. As a friend of mine noted, the scope of what is racially cool and not cool has been altered; For the next several years, we can all issue the retroactive caveat, "It’s cool, my president is black," after saying something that may be considered suspect.
For a rebuttal to myself, continue reading Part II: Revenge of Thinking