Barack Obama: A different kind of popular vote

I come from a generation of people who immediately disregard anything that gains any popularity among the general public. It’s cool until other people like it. Then, “It’s played, man. Played.” These are the kind of people who support the Electoral College because they don’t want to get caught supporting the popular vote. My, wouldn’t that be embarrassing.

The only way for my generation to like something past its peak of favor is to hope for its death. If the anti-popularity crowd feels comfortable that which they like can be martyred, they won’t feel embarassed about supporting it. There’s no chance the object of their affections will sell out (see Kurt Cobain circa the Buckshot Overdose Years).

Hence, if something–anything–stays around too long, it runs out of cool fuel. A priest told me the other day (me and about 50 other people, but still) that we live in a throwaway society. Most of the things we like these days are disposable. We have neither the patience nor the will to make a commitment to something that will be around for longer than Britney Spears’ sense of self worth.

Columnists with hipster backgrounds have started using perjorative words like “cult” and “religion” to describe what is happening in our nation. It is hard for a culture that eschews anything popular to accept what’s happening to the Barack Obama campaign.

I understand this. Even I, a fairly reasonable guy, tend to disregard Oprah-picks. I, like most people, don’t like being told what I should like and what I shouldn’t. And really, when somebody suggests I’d really enjoy a Nicholas Sparks book, I have a hard time taking the recommendation or person behind it seriously.

That’s what makes what’s happening right now so important and interesting. This is something we 18-35 year olds (admittedly, I’m in the long-tooth end of the curve) have not seen our our lifetimes and something we likely won’t see again. If Obama can find a way to court the important Old Racist and Institutional Washington voting blocks, he could very well be the next President.

Yeah, it’s odd. It’s strange to see people crying and falling out when Obama speaks. We, as a country, are naturally skeptical when people talk about being “inspired.” We expect those folks to start speaking in tongues or bombing abortion clinics. Because “inspiration” too-often translates to “fanaticism.” Fortunately for all of us, Obama isn’t running with Eric Robert Rudolph. He’s simply speaking a language a lot of us want to hear–and not in tongues.

If Barack Obama told me to put on a pair of Nikes and off myself, I’d say no. If Obama suggested it would be a good idea if I killed Sharon Tate, I’d say no–after reminding him the poor lady has had enough killing in her life. Hell, if Obama had an open house in Waco, I probably wouldn’t attend.

But, if Obama suggests he will be the candidate who seeks to change the Washington paradigm and be a candidate for a generation of people who have never believed in anything, well, the guy has my vote.

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