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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website,

Yes, you can.

One evening four years ago, I wandered into the family room where the television happened to be on, and someone I'd never seen or heard of before happened to be speaking. I stood listening for a few minutes before I yelled for Patrick.

"Get in here, quick."


"Just come."

He came in, alarmed now. "What?"

I hushed him, pointed to the screen. "That man," I said, "that man is the next President of the United States."

That man, of course, was Barack Obama, and I hope with all my heart that the prophecy of my goosebumps comes to pass.

I've been debating for several weeks now, how much to say about that here. For one thing, I can't vote in this election, so it seems a little out of line to tell anyone else how they should cast their ballot. And even if I were a citizen, if I had a platform of millions, instead of hundreds, I couldn't tell anyone how to vote. Every person must vote their conscience. This I believe to the bone.

I keep that belief tucked next to my faith that America will come around to the right thing finally, though that faith wavers at times, as it has this past week or so. I've found myself slipping into fear. Fear that slightly more than half the electorate might not believe as I do, share the values that I do, think the same as I do. I've watched more television news in the past month than I have in the past four years, and there's a direct correlation between that and the fear.

It's time to change the channel. No matter what happens in this election, we all have to wake up and live together the next day. It's not as if the losing side gets voted off the island. The ideas represented by Sarah Palin and her most ardent followers scare the hell out of me. I'm guessing mine would scare the hell out of them. But I bet if we met each other as people and neighbors, not idealogies, most of us would do alright.

Ideas are important. Ideals, too. Don't get me wrong. It's good to ask yourself what you stand for. But then it's just as important to ask if that idea is something that works offscreen, in the context of living, breathing humanity. Is it a value you can embody at ground level, in one-on-one, face-to-face, encounters with real people? What if this were an island? What if you were stuck there with people who believe differently, act differently, think differently, and you had to make it work? How would that change the way we get behind ideas?

Because this world really is an island. We really are stuck with each other. And we really we have to make it work.

I won't tell you how to vote. I know you can and do think for yourselves.

Craig Ferguson does too:

P.S. Obama people, Dwight Yoakam's version of "Let's Work Together" would make a kick-ass campaign song, don't you think? McCain people, you didn't see that. ;-)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant. And more than that: kind.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I too am trying to change the channel, but it is so hard.
And I don't even have a vote. Whichever side wins, I have moved up uniting the country on my laundry list of things I hope to see. More likely I am sure, is recounts, cursing out a swing state that didn't vote the "right" way, endless gloating and taunting on the internet, and cries of sexism or racism.

Despite that I will be thinking of America today, 7 yrs out, and staying confident that the best days are yet to come.

12:15 PM  
Blogger She She said...

Craig Ferguson for President. I love him. He's always so right on.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ferguson KILLED. I think I'll be watching him more often now!

Did you happen to catch the last Bill Maher with Kerry Washington? She was awesome -- watch it if you can catch it again.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

As ever, Canada and her people seem to have it figured out better than we Yanks. You're right, for all the left-leaning talk (including mine) about heading north if we can't elect the right person this time, we're in this for the long haul. Might as well try to make it work.

But seriously, if Obama doesn't win, can my family move in with your mom?

2:46 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

I've obviously been overseas too long - never heard of Craig Ferguson! He's awesome!!! Perfect message to one and all.

This is my first Presidential vote as a U.S. citizen - I'm so psyched!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Thank you for a very thoughtful essay and for the video, both are very well done. I wish you could vote in this election!

5:10 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Although I'm sure I'm in your camp politically (and I can and do vote), I still think I see what's going on here: you've got a thing for Craig Ferguson. My wife does too. It's the smile, isn't it?

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was indeed brilliant (but of course it would be you're Canadian :) ) I only wish more Americans agreed with you. And the sad thing is, to a Canadian living on this side of the border and reading lots of blogs, it would seem that lots of Americans's unfortunate's just too bad that those well informed and educated blog readers and writers aren't representative of the majority of Americans and those that vote...

8:18 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Crossing fingers...

11:38 PM  
Blogger /brandon\ said...

great post, except for that part where you say you won't tell people how to vote. could you just this one time PLEASE tell people how to vote? i'm really not wanting to take any chances this year!

11:43 PM  
Blogger patsyrose said...

Canadians are well aware of U.S. politics because they affect us strongly whether we like it or not. I started out liking Obama but thinking he was too new to win this time. After seeing McCains's ill chosen running mate, I am now an Obama supporter.

I still like McCain but...what was he thinking???

6:26 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Brandon, what if I just ask nicely?

Everybody, vote for Obama, pretty please?

auntie Pat, I like McCain too, and felt all along that the "worst case scenario" wasn't too bad. Now I feel it's pretty bad. Hopefully his choice will push more people off the fence and into Obama's yard.

6:34 AM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

If Obama doesn't win, we are all moving to Canada. Can you recommend some nice places?

5:16 PM  
Blogger jenB said...

I cannot vote either, but I have to say that the Craig Ferguson made me cry. What is wrong with me? Perhaps nothing.

5:40 PM  
Blogger anndeo said...

My thoughts exactly!

9:55 PM  
Blogger Waynette Traub said...

Kyran – stop by my office the next time your are downtown. I will give you something that you will love – cool Obama sticker/design.Shepard Fairey Hope Design – You will love it. Google the name. I had to post the Craig Ferguson clip to my facebook page. I loved it. He comes on way to late for me to see plus I don't watch very much TV. I saw Obama when he came to Arkansas to help Mike Beebe in his Race for Governor. I knew then when I heard him speak there was "something" there. My son was with me on the steps of the state capital that day when I was photographing him and Mike Beebe. Now my 13 year old son says – I was just inches away from our next president!

I can vote. I am signed up to work in the local office. I can not wait to work to win for Obama.

10:08 PM  
Blogger the pensive one said...

Thanks for this post and for C.F.; we could need someone like him here in Austria - especially as we are facing national elections, too, and the far right gang is coming up to 20% (because all the other parties are either indulged in belly button watching or getting tangled up in power games).
I live in this country for more than 25 years now and can't vote (even though I'm a EU citizen) as I haven't got this thing called nationality. Still I care - a lot.

So lets hope the best for both of our home countries.

PS, a friend of mine from SC sent me this:
It's always good to laugh...

4:12 AM  

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