Barack Obama is no longer a presidential candidate, but a pre-Madonna archetype for the not-so-Anglo-Saxon America of today. Everything about him, from his ill-proportioned face to his international background, embodies the new American. A thrown-aside, No-Child-Left-Behind generation with obligations to clean up our parent’s mistakes: their industrialized economic, environmental and political mistakes.
A few Sundays ago, I piled into a car to see the Obama rally. Lots of people were denied entry to the exclusive Barack event. When my crew got there at around 11 o’clock, Aretha Franklin was bumping, the crowd rowdy, the air vibrant. I’d never seen Obama in the flesh, and on the way to the event, I told myself to listen to his words closely, make sure the hype is there for the quality of his policies and not his taste in neckties. As soon as I entered the gates, my head cracked from the flat screams. My group filtered as far front as possible, standing aside to let people clap, jump, yell, whatever. A mid-aged black lady bumps into me, flailing her whole body round, clapping as she rotates the full 360 degrees. “I’m ready for change! I’m ready for change!” This is not politics—this is a circus, I mused.
From his first word, it was impossible to hear him over my fellow Ashevilleans’ banshee cries. If things were to change, would you still feel free to invade my privacy of thought with praises for a man not yet handed glory?
Barack Obama’s campaign may have been hindered rather than helped by him being turned into a pop icon. Thugs sport the outline of his face on tall tees, his name in hip-hop songs. My roommate Jay even has a “Barack Out With Your Cock Out” hat.
Obama cradles the most influential demographic in Asheville, a key region for winning North Carolina. In these last few weeks, he needs to get down to business, roll up his sleeves and be what he once was praised as: a social, economic and community concerned leader, not MTV’s choice for their next reality-TV show. With our fair city leading the nation in alternative thought, is it safe for us to celebrate before the results pan out?
— Mitchell Dorsk