Friday, October 24, 2008

Buttoned up

So far this election season I have collected five Barack Obama buttons, and I wear them all, not counting the one I gave to Dan. That's new for me; in the past five elections in which I was eligible to vote, I never felt the slightest desire to advertise my political leanings even when I had opinions. This year's different.

It's not that I think Barack Obama is the Wise One Who Will Bring Peace, because I think that, at the end of the day, he's pretty just much a politician. A canny, intelligent, and inspirational politician, to be sure, and one who stands much closer to me on the isues than that dreadful McCain, but he's no savior. The button's not about that, though. It's about the hope Obama represents: that Democrats can indeed appear (and be) strong, that fear need not be a campaign tool, that in this nation black people can be president, too. That's pretty heady stuff.

I'm not good at hope, and never have been. I'm pragmatic, realistic, and determined, but I tend not to spare much thought in hoping for better. When asked if my glass is half-empty or half-full, my response has typically been: "Who cares? It's the only glass I have." That sounds realistic and practical, and I guess in some ways it is, but it's no way to live. So I've been practicing hope, even though it kinda runs against the grain for me. We're always told don't get your hopes up, as if that's going to protect you from the crap life occasionally sends your way. I've discovered that you're almost always better off getting your hopes up, and here's why. Take for example the presidential election. My disappointment at a McCain victory will be no greater if I hope for Obama's triumph, so I may as well savor the hope now while it lasts. That's not sensible, but no one said life was sensible. Besides, sensible is overrated; sometimes you have to do the dumb thing, take the long odds, and thumb your nose at all the reasons why not. That's what got me on stage doing stand-up, and even though that was a dumb thing and certainly long odds, I'm so glad I did it.

So you know what? I get my hopes up. I take the long odds. I wear that button. And tomorrow I'm wearing two.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ultimatesean here, my spin on your approach has been "half-full or half-empty, the glass is obviously too big for what I have."

1:52 PM  

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