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Washtenaw Flaneurade
3 February 2008
The Hostile Bones In My Body
Now Playing: Of Montreal--"City Bird" (yes, I've given them another chance, but that's mainly down to the album cover art, I think)

This is generally the time of year when I get really depressed. Even when I lived at the old house on Spring Street, with its unbeatable pre-dawn vistas of the downtown lights high enough to avoid the figurative hurled tomatoes of Old West Side nimbys, I couldn't escape the grey, dismal stranglehold of the snow and the sludge, holding me in and fastening me tight. The early winter entries in my journal (which, after I met my current friends and started blogging, pretty much dwindled to nothing--and we can all be grateful, believe me) are a sorry cavalcade of maudlin self-pity and high-school-level paeans to some form of self-destruction. I don't feel that this year. Maybe I've grown, or maybe I've decided nothing much matters in the very long run and that there's not much point in worrying about it. I'm not going to complain, either way (well, about that, at any rate).

I have the hiccups for what must be the first time in five years. My boss--"Fluffy"--is no longer so (in charge of me, that is; she still screams "fluffy"), and that pleases me. Trust me, it's no fun facing the condescension of someone who has to ask you which month boasts Cinco de Mayo (or whose colonial rule the thirteen colonies rebelled against).

 "Super Tuesday" is a few days away, so I guess I should say something. I've mentioned several times before that I rarely discuss politics--"as such"--here, mainly because it's done so much better jillions of other places on the web. I should probably make an exception now, though. For some time, I'd been teetering between supporting Edwards or Obama before settling on the latter. I feared that Edwards had too much of the "2004 loser" baggage to be terribly viable, and figured we needed a transformational figure of Obama's caliber to get anywhere near fixing this country after the all-out wreckage of the last eight years. He certainly seems to have the most appeal towards independents, and at this point, I call myself a moderate Obama supporter. That said, though, I wish Edwards had stayed in the race longer. I thought his concession speech was pure class, but believed another month or so might have pushed the debate leftward (where it needs to be). From what I can tell, that's actually happened--on a rhetorical level, anyway. Whether Obama or--especially--Clinton will actually move to fix the country's (and world's) central economic problem of staggering income inequaliy remains to be seen. My own involvement with the election, along with that of most other Michigan Democrats, has been a little bizarre. The state party's foolhardy decision to move the primary date ahead to mid-January saw Michigan stripped of delegates to the national convention, making our election meaningless (that's what we were told, anyway). Now I'm not entirely without sympathy for the Michigan Democratic Party. The primary system, like the electoral college, grows less and less justifiable every year, and while I don't think it should necessarily be abolished, I think it (like the electoral college) could stand to have its purpose challenged in a major way. The middle of an election cycle is not the time to do it. We had a putative choice between Clinton (who pledged not to campaign in Michigan but whose name somehow remained on the ballot), "uncommitted"  (basically Obama or Edwards), Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Chris Dodd (the latter dropped out the day of the primary). The people responsible for this cockup (including members of the hugely problematic Dingell dynasty and, I'm sorry to say, Senator Carl Levin) said our votes might still count even if we voted "uncommitted", but, shockingly enough, I didn't trust them. I voted for Kucinich. I find his platform inspiring if hugely impractical, had a sneaking admiration for him when I lived in Akron (his district's in Cleveland), figured I'd never have another chance to vote for him, and got a kick out of imagining his raisiny little face lighting up at the prospect of another vote.* Most of all, though, I figured more people voting for Kucinich might send a nice consequence-free scold to both the state party (for the tantrum) and the national party (for causing the tantrum). Tantrums all round, then. My already tepid regard for Clinton has declined considerably over the past few months, both for her hypocritically using Bill as an attack dog and for her belated push to have Michigan and Florida votes counted when it comes time to tot them up at the convention. Like many Democrats who didn't support Hillary, I was still pleased to see her win in New Hampshire mainly because the mainstream media was so obviously rooting for her to fail (the point man in this pathetic exercise being MSNBC's grotesque, egregious Chris Matthews). Still, having the right enemies isn't enough anymore. Obviously anyone would be better than Bush or any of the Republican candidates (although I have to admit a reluctant amount of respect for Huckabee--it's nice to see a "pro-life" figure who actually seems to care about what happens to unwanted children after they're born), but surely we can do better than that at this point, right?

*I realize the last part exposes my own considerable superficiality, but then again, the guy's a successful, greatly-beloved-in-certain-quarters public figure with a smart, loving, and attractive partner. Go figure.


Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: 1 February 2008 2:33 PM EST
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