Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Warm Apple Pie Endorses Barack Obama For President

(Length warning. Someone's getting maudlin and windy!)

Formerly, I was an insalubrious fatty. I puffed a pack of Parliaments each day, considered exercise my morning constitutional to the toilet for bladder relief and stuffed my pudgy face full of McGriddles (ah, McGriddles - you still haunt my dreams!). There is a telling photograph of my bespectacled visage from Thanksgiving 2005 with a thick film of gravy - yes, gravy - on the right lens of my glasses. I really got into my food. I used my whole grill.

I was pretty sorry. My longtime girlfriend and I had parted ways six months prior to the humiliating candid shot - "ode to gluttony." My skin was a bit ruddy. I couldn't get my motor going in the morning. I sleepwalked through a dead end job. My apartment was a mess, strewn with cigarette ash and empty pizza boxes. Generally, the zest for life so self-evident during my early and mid-twenties had eroded into the enervation of my thirtieth year. A sad state of affairs.

Simply put? I needed hope. I needed change - change I could believe in.

I wiped the gravy off my glasses and addressed the mirror, confronting an old reflection before its time. Then, I took the first step.

I put down the smokes and tried to extricate the psychosomatic yearning in the pit of my chest. It wasn't easy. I teetered back and forth, sneaking drags from enabling friends, sometimes a whole butt. Like Ben Stiller playing "Simple Jack," the cold turkey removal of nicotine-produced endorphins made me feel "actually retarded." It was a dreadful epoch - those first few months. The withdrawal from addiction was frightening. Could I stop smoking forever?

Change was scary.

I got off the couch and trudged towards the gym, lugging my hefty 215 pound blob of a body to the treadmill, to the weights. My stringy muscles could hardly muster the will to do any meaningful strength training. My initial visits were painful. It was excruciating early on and progress was small, measured in baby steps. I wanted to quit. But I didn't. I kept at it. I got stronger, slowly, then steadily. The results manifested themselves. My vigor returned.

Change was tough.

I said goodbye to my beloved food, my blocks of Cracker Barrel, Extra Sharp, my Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers, my chicken and cheese quesadillas (what can I say - I like cheese). Instead, I filled my robust belly with boatloads of protein. Chicken. Fish. I broke company with Mayo. I made my peace with Ben & Jerry's "Chunky Monkey" and sent it on its way. But a funny thing happen while my taste buds held vigil: I felt better. I felt spry. I reclaimed my youth.

Change was necessary.

Today, I'm 180 pounds, haven't smoke a cigarette in over a year (not a drag), fallen madly in love and generally keep my wits about me in the restaurant. No f**king mayo. No thank you, sir. I've improved, but it took change - scary, tough, necessary change.

My point (look, it's pretty late and I'm spent. I'm also half-drunk. Blogging is hard!): I endorse Barack Obama for President of the United States, our shining paragon of freedom, but do so with reservations about the future of an Obama administration, with the understanding that the road to American wellness will be long and painstaking, but with the unflappable realization that Barack Obama is a necessary panacea for the viral policies of George W. Bush's disastrous two terms.

This country is an insalubrious fatty right now. Barack Obama can bring it back to fitness. John McCain cannot.

I'm out of gas and really don't feel like ragging on John McCain again. His campaign speaks volumes. His inability to stay on message or offer a cohesive vision of our economic destiny is just too telling. John McCain is too risky to lead. That's a funny realization.

Yes, like the rest of the blogging world except for the incorrigibly cynical and intellectually bankrupt, Sarah Palin didn't shift the political winds for me. But for a different reason than most. It wasn't her feckless efforts during her first interviews or her desultory presentation in front of the electorate. It wasn't even McCain's judgment in making the selection. For me, it's why he picked her - a straight, unabashed pander to the GOP base. That scares me more than the flimsy radical associations portrayed by the Republicans as surrounding Obama. For the first time in his political career, McCain played the partisan sycophant and tossed in with the far right. In appeasing the divisive component of the party, he forever coated his favorite word "Maverick" with thick irony. I would never take his campaign seriously again.

As for Obama, I go in believing, but with my eyes open. I like his energy policy. I like setting a hard deadline for energy independence in 10 years - a bold initiative rivaling Kennedy's race to the moon. I also like his health care plan. It's a hybrid between private insurance and the European model (yes . . . socialism! Woooooo.). We fatuously call this land the "shining city on the hill" until the remaining 42,000,000 of our fellow citizens can afford basic health care and, in turn, basic human dignity. And we'll quibble with taxes later on and reach a compromise.

Finally, I like what Obama represents to the global community, a signal that America will no longer play racial identity politics. He may become a galvanizing figure in this world always on the brink, embolden our allies to stand with us and fight evil, and cause our enemies to lose their stomach for battle. A beatific vision of course, but shouldn't we shoot for the stars and come up short, rather than admiring the distant twinkles of possibility from the wallow of our realities.

Hope - the fuzzy depiction the Republicans lambasted and disrobed throughout the campaign as shell promises. Tawdry goods. Valueless preacher hype. They never understood that hope fuels progress, creates ideas, sparks innovation. Hope is the thing of gut checks, when you're at rock bottom, no health care, no job, no prospects, a mountain of bills, not a pot to piss in, no way out. Fettered by hopelessness, that's your only spiritual leverage - the faint glimmer of hope. It's why you buy a lottery ticket. It's why you dream. McCain, Palin and the surrogates discredited it with every talking point. I firmly believe they will pay the price for their political atheism in less than 24 hours.

I hope Barack Obama wins. And that's enough to keep me going if he loses. Hope is real.

So that's it. You have my prediction for a metered Obama victory. Sorry about this stream of consciousness. On the old devil box, I'm watching Sarah Palin speak live from Elko, Nevada as she completes her campaign '08 gauntlet. Gosh, her crackling voice crawls into my debilitated brain like those slimy creatures Khan inserts into Chekhov's ear in Star Trek II. "I must obey . . . her incoherency . . . must write not good and dumb also."

One hell of an election though. The Potatoe will have reports from the field throughout the day, including live reports from polling districts in battleground states. We will be with you through the results of the election. Our country names a President in 24 hours (as long as Florida doesn't get unruly again). That's a hell of a thing.

Polls open in less than five hours on the East Coast. Good luck America. Let's keep it fair and civil. In the words of Jack Burton, "may the wings of liberty never shed a feather."

I leave you with Senator Obama's words from his October 22 rally in Richmond, Virginia. Click the link.

Screw it. I also leave you with this, Obama supporters:

One vote at a time. That's an election, guys. That's all it is.

Now . . . what are you going to do?

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