Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I've had woodpecker fever all week. I've been putting knuckles through Ikea tabletops for days. If you mention Obama, I'm looking to knock some wood. All signs look good, the polls are positive and - knock, knock, knock - Yes We Can!
I bubbled in Obama this morning in a rainy La Jolla garage and plan on holing up in an undisclosed bookstore where the only thing more plentiful than wood to knock on is Pabst Blue Ribbon to knock back.
More than an Obama victory though, I'm looking forward to getting the United States of America and the Constitution back. No gloating and no nose rubbing - just a deep breath before the real work begins. Tomorrow, there might be those on the right who will feel a dread and pit of the stomach sickness that many of us felt following George W. Bush's elections. That unfortunate president demanded eight years of nausea - but I think things will turn out differently for those soured by an Obama victory tonight. Barack Obama has delivered a consistent and insistent message of unity - echoing Lincoln's "House Divided" speech from the moment he announced his candidacy. The electoral map may be re-written tonight, the suffocating red state/blue state mentality will give way to the sort of America that Walt Whitman sang about.
Speaking of Whitman, I hope he, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King are around somewhere to watch the returns come rolling in tonight. Tomorrow it's back to Whitman's America:
Whoever you are, to you endless announcements!
Daughter of the lands did you wait for your poet?
Did you wait for one with a flowing mouth and indicative hand?
Toward the male of the States, and toward the female of the States,
Exulting words, words to Democracy's lands.
Interlink'd, food-yielding lands!
Land of coal and iron! land of gold! land of cotton, sugar, rice!
Land of wheat, beef, pork! land of wool and hemp! land of the apple
and the grape!
Land of the pastoral plains, the grass-fields of the world! land of
those sweet-air'd interminable plateaus!
Land of the herd, the garden, the healthy house of adobie!
Lands where the north-west Columbia winds, and where the south-west
Land of the eastern Chesapeake! land of the Delaware!
Land of Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan!
Land of the Old Thirteen! Massachusetts land! land of Vermont and
Land of the ocean shores! land of sierras and peaks!
Land of boatmen and sailors! fishermen's land!
Inextricable lands! the clutch'd together! the passionate ones!
The side by side! the elder and younger brothers! the bony-limb'd!
The great women's land! the feminine! the experienced sisters and
the inexperienced sisters!
Far breath'd land! Arctic braced! Mexican breez'd! the diverse! the
The Pennsylvanian! the Virginian! the double Carolinian!
O all and each well-loved by me! my intrepid nations! O I at any
rate include you all with perfect love!
I cannot be discharged from you! not from one any sooner than
O death! O for all that, I am yet of you unseen this hour with
Walking New England, a friend, a traveler,
Splashing my bare feet in the edge of the summer ripples on
Crossing the prairies, dwelling again in Chicago, dwelling in every
Observing shows, births, improvements, structures, arts,
Listening to orators and oratresses in public halls,
Of and through the States as during life, each man and woman my
The Louisianian, the Georgian, as near to me, and I as near to him
The Mississippian and Arkansian yet with me, and I yet with any of
Yet upon the plains west of the spinal river, yet in my house of
Yet returning eastward, yet in the Seaside State or in Maryland,
Yet Kanadian cheerily braving the winter, the snow and ice welcome
Yet a true son either of Maine or of the Granite State, or the
Narragansett Bay State, or the Empire State,
Yet sailing to other shores to annex the same, yet welcoming every
Hereby applying these leaves to the new ones from the hour they
unite with the old ones,
Coming among the new ones myself to be their companion and equal,
coming personally to you now,
Enjoining you to acts, characters, spectacles, with me.
- from Starting & From Paumanok in Leaves of Grass