30 October 2008
I have not had what you can say is unshakeable confidence this electoral season. Can you blame me? I gained my legal right to vote just in time to vote in 2000. You know how that turned out. I sat through demoralizing failures in 2002 and 2004. It’s been easy to be pessimistic. So I’ve often felt a little jumpy about November 4th except when I’m watching Barack. It’s been a strange facet of this election season. When Palin burst on the scene, I felt panicked. When McCain got his convention bounce, I was deeply afraid. When I watch Obama surrogates on television, I rarely feel assured. When he is getting attacked again and again in some stump speech somewhere, it depresses me.
But every time — every time — that fear and worry evaporates, as soon as I see Barack. When he appears on TV and addresses the latest events, I suddenly feel calm. I feel like we can actually win this thing. If I ever give myself over to the hopelessness that electoral politics can engender in any of us, I’m always cured by listening to him. Not because he’s my perfect candidate; he’s far, far from it. Not because I think he can’t lose, because he can. It’s simply that there’s something about him, some ineffable and brilliant quality, that radiates calm to me.
When I watch Obama I get the sense he’s saying both “I got this” and “I can do this if you give me a hand” at the same time. The calm comes from steady leadership that is empowering me to make a difference. I have “agency,” as Mary might put it. I feel a sense of control.