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A Side Order of Naivete


This morning, The London Times reports that the Obama team has already been talking about how to deal with postpartum depression following his historical victory, and right they are. The way things are stacking up, people are flocking to the polls thinking that they will elect a president who all buts walks on water. The presidential hopeful is right to try to mitigate against any kind of emotional upheaval which may well result when people realize that the country, and the world, is so deeply immersed in this economic morass, socioeconomic disenfranchisement, racism, and religious intolerance that even Houdini would be hard pressed to step into the Oval Office, wave a wand, and make everything better.

After all, we're electing a mere mortal not a Greek god who will serve in our nation's capital, and not on Mt. Olympus.

Only those who are naive to the point of idiocy would believe that either McCain or Obama will have clean hands at the end of his first term. No one walks away from the battlefield with clean hands. The difference is that one candidate recognizes and respects the limitations of the presidency while the other will push for even more inflated power.

Apart from this, keep in mind that Obama not only studied constitutional law, he taught it, while a McCain presidency virtually guarantees continuing his predecessor's efforts to transform the Bill of Rights into the Bill of Frights.

More importantly, Obama is invested in having a second term which means he'll have to listen to the people who gave him the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue whereas McCain is a one trick pony. If McCain's choice of Palin as his running mate indicates what his cabinet will look like, we should be scared, very scared if he manages to overcome the odds and prevail on Election Day. Rest assured, McCain/Palin will finish what Richard Nixon attempted, and Bush/Cheney came close to finishing --nothing short of the complete subversion of democratic principles that distinguished us from a monarchy, or a totalitarian state.

While only the most egregiously naive wouldn't acknowledge that both candidates have been "corporatized," and are knee-deep in special interests, only one candidate knows what it's like to watch his mother have to fight to keep her insurance.

That said, anybody who expects Obama to be a miracle worker will be disappointed to find, after Inauguration Day, that they may have to accept not only his fallibility, but their own, and that his power is inextricably tied to their investment in him. Isn't that what the framers had in mind when, as Jefferson asserts, they fled from tyranny? Didn't they demand not only transparency, but that the doors, and windows, of government would be open? We may expect no less from the senator from Illinois should he prevail on Tuesday.

Should Obama win, we may also look forward to a presidency that will force us, at long last, to take a long hard look at the racial divide, and the unequal opportunity for young people of color in a country where more African-American youngsters are in our nation's prisons than universities.

There is no other presidential candidate, this election year, with the vision, and the power, to move from an "us" against "them" mentality--not McCain, Nader, Barr, McKinney; the only one who holds the promise for unity, and equality, as well as even the faintest optimism for the future is Barack Obama.

Most of all, we must never forget that those who get to inhabit the White House serve at the pleasure of the people, and are renters only; we own it!

Follow Jayne Lyn Stahl on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaynelynstahl