Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama have swept John Edwards aside as the big story in American politics. Is the States less ready for a black man or a woman as the next President?
A week into the New Year, and already I have a very good feeling about the whole 2008 thing.
It's not just the hype of the American election, although I am a total junkie for the U.S. political process. Don't get me started, much as I'd like you to.
At least I'm not the only one. It's not like having a fetish for Etruscan jewellery design. I personally would love you to talk my ear off early Tuscan goldsmithing, but it's not going to get you a world-wide audience.
I was on the radio Tuesday morning with Toronto Jay of ThatRadio.com and we couldn't help ourselves - we segued into election talk after a fun natter about film and writing. Check out the full interview on ThatRadio.
How can you not feel something hearing Barak Obama's stirring address after his surprise win in the Iowa caucuses? The pundits were already deep in analysis the moment it ended. We haven't heard this kind of - well, I hate to call it rhetoric - this kind of passion and power since the speeches of Roosevelt.
Something is shifting, in my life and in the world. My partner would say it has everything to do with the generation we're in. Our parents were the products of war and deprivation, raised by those who suffered through conflict, food shortages, and uncertainty. Determined that we never suffer as they did, they raised us to believe that the world was a stable, good place.
Of course, we never believed it. I remember the eighties. I remember growing up with the sneaking suspicion that adults might just be dumb enough to blow us all up.
And I've lived through far too many years of Bush-induced fear-mongering.
What's clear, even on the most biased (ahem *FOX*) news outlets, is that people are getting tired of being told to be scared. Even the most jaded can only hear so many dire predictions before asking the simple question, "Okay, so what do we do about it?"
Strangely, the only thing that gets me down about the political machinery churning away across the States is that it's fairly plain that America just may be more ready for a black President than for a woman.
It showed in the reaction to Clinton's tearful soundbites from last night. The pundits had two simultaneous and mutually exclusive takes: Either Clinton is a prime example of the kind of hysterical, hormonal woman we can't allow anywhere NEAR the White House, or she's such a cold fish that she must have asked an aide for an onion in order to get the tears to flow.
Madonna, whore. Madonna, whore. Nothing more, even in the 21st Century.
If she is not the next President of the United States, I will be happy to attribute it at least in part to the "Obama Tsunami," which has made it all but irrelevant to know what the Senator's policies actually are.
But if Clinton doesn't get the Democratic nomination, it will be less an indictment of her -- because she is very clearly the most experienced and most capable leader of the field -- than an indication that we still are clinging a little too much to a deep-rooted sexism.
I feel for John Edwards, because I see the way America is changing. Through no fault of his own, just the fact he's a rich, middle-aged white guy is actually working against him. He is not a story, as they say, and he has suffered from his perceived lack of newsworthiness.
My dream team for the next administration would be Clinton/Obama in '08 with Dennis Kucinich as Secretary of State and John Edwards as Attorney General. We need something to wash the away the foul aftertaste left in the wake of Alberto Gonzales.
I don't know if the Conservative half of the U.S. is ready for a "Madame President" and "First Gentleman," or for a "Black House" for that matter, but I certainly hope so.
There's a sense of anticipation and possibility that is permeating politics for the first time in years, and it's spilling over into my personal life. Either that, or magically it's the other way around...
Whatever, 2008 is going to be the ride of our lives.
I just hope there's nothing to that Mayan prediction of the end of the world coming in 2012. I mean, I would miss the next election.