I have a confession to make.
One time, I watched Will & Grace.
Hear me out. I was sick, all of my friends were out of town, and I could only slice through the sea of static to a single channel with the help of my ancient antenna's reach. While I know no amount of excuses could possibly pardon this crime, there it is. That's my case for why I watched this shitty, shitty sitcom.
There's more, too. I...learned something... from Will & Grace.
See, the whole episode was about Will's conundrum regarding who he was going to vote for in a citywide election. He had two candidates to choose from: black guy and a woman.
Those are the names they use throughout the episode: black guy and woman. Will, Grace, and Jack know nothing about the candidates. They only know the candidates are refreshingly different than the uptight, old white dudes currently running the city. How are they different? They have no clue other than one is black and the other possesses a vagina.
Welcome to Election Year 2008. Will it be the black guy or the vag-carrier?
And it's not Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton's fault for being America's Black Guy and Woman. Their respective race and sex don't disqualify them from being president, though it seems some liberals have been tricked into automatically assuming Barack and Hillary are progressive because of their minority statuses.
This isn't the tired "Is he black enough?/Is she feminine enough?" argument.
This is the: Are They Poor Enough? argument.
Barack Obama didn't grow up in rural Louisiana sharing a swamp shack with seven siblings. He is from a middle class family that made sure he attended wonderful schools and received the finest education. Hillary Clinton can fake that southern accent all she wants, but she was raised in an Illinois household in a family that ran a successful textile business. These two are no strangers to wealth.
The basic conundrum in this country is that only one TYPE of person is considered presidential. This person is traditionally white and male. However, a different TYPE of person can be considered electable, but they still must be corporation and free trade-friendly.
This is why Hillary has to remain tough on her vote into Iraq. It would be feminine and weak to admit her wrong-doing. One need only ask John Kerry about the power of being labeled a "flip-flopper."
Likewise, Barack has to be careful that he distance himself from anything too "black" i.e. the poor. This is why Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were hesitant to jump on the Obama boat. Under careful scrutiny, Barack isn't really the "black guy." Like Hillary, he's still very much the old order of candidate: business friendly.
And they both must remain corporation-friendly. It's already old news that Hillary is pro-big business. After all, the woman once sat on the board of Walmart. How much more corporate can you get than that? However, we all held out hope for Barack, the man who claimed to be out of Big Business's clawed grasp.
I feel bad for Barack. You can tell he wants to be a revolutionary, but he has to pay his way into the White House, and it's tough to be a maverick when you're at the mercy of lobbyists. Hell, Barack is tighter with the insurance companies than most other politicians in the Senate. He even wants them to help him create a new health care program, which will surely be quite a breathtaking juggling act if he gets the chance to try it.
And now Barack is claiming that Democrats can achieve all their political and social goals whilst simultaneously reaching out to corporations in a classic case of trying to have our cake and eat it too. John Edwards dismissed Barack's cake paradox as a "complete fantasy."
This brings up to the weirdest aspect of Election Year 2008. In this bizarre Opposite Land, the only person shaking things up is...a southern, white dude.
Don't get me wrong, no one wants to punch John Edwards in the face more than me. Whenever he mounts a stage, I want to sob violently. The hair, the suit, EVERYTHING about John Edwards makes him look like a typical, lying politician.
Except, Edwards is the ONLY candidate gunning for the rich, which is weird because HE'S rich. He even pays way too much for his haircuts, you might have heard. It's like the ghost of Christmas Future visited Edwards and showed him his lonely, unfulfilling fate if he kept pedaling for corporate interests.
The new Edwards is thirsty for the blood of multinational corporations. I'm inclined to believe him because he's risking everything by choosing this road to the White House. He actually told CBS: "I absolutely believe to my soul that this corporate greed and corporate power has an ironclad hold on our democracy."
Say whaaaaat? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. D.C. is stuffed with corporate fat cats who bully and cajole politicians into voting the right legislation through for the right price.
How the hell does Edwards expect to win with "Fuck the Rich" as his platform? Who does he think he is with his "publicly funded election?" Eugene Debs? COMMUNIST, I say! SOCIALIST!
Get this: Edwards thinks we should totally reform health care WITHOUT the help of the big, insurance companies that dicked us in the first place. What MADNESS is this?! Now I know why his perm is so expensive. Stalin is living in his hair!
In my opinion, the biggest threat facing America isn't terrorism or the Chinese. It's the widening class divide. The rich are too rich, the poor too poor, and the only candidate seriously addressing this issue is John Edwards.
I want to see him go head-to-head with Barack Obama in debates because Barack could still end up taking on corporate lobbyists, but I think only if John Edwards presses him to the left. And I hope he does just that.