Have you ever gone through a really dry period sexually? At first you get angry that you're being neglected and ignored, and you act out. Then one day you wake up with a sense of nonchalance and you start to marvel at how much you're getting done, and how much easier it is not to care. And then... one day, maybe a stranger comes and begins to romance you and strokes your hair in a sort of contemplative way, uttering the most delightful insights. He touches your hand softly and then a little more firmly, awakening the feelings that you thought you'd left behind, and then you start speaking really poetically and hearing melodies and then suddenly you WANT IN! You want back in the game and you think 'spring is here'... YES WE CAN!
Barack Obama is inspiring us like a desert lover, a Washington Valentino. We who have felt apathetic, angry at two (likely) stolen elections, K-Street hegemony, the "pornography of the trivial"* in journalism and culture; we who are heartbroken over a war we knew was wrong, we who thought (especially after Baby Bush got in a 2nd time) that America got what it asked for; we who stopped wanting to participate 'cause it doesn't matter whether we do or don't; we have a crush. We're talking about it; we're getting involved, we're tuning in and turning out in numbers we haven't seen in ages. My musician friends and I are writing songs to inspire people and couples all over America are making love again and shouting "yes we can" as they climax!
The downside is that when the Republican fear factory goes into full production come election time, and even superdelegate time, potentially causing the Dems to hand-pick Hillary instead of Prince Charming because we are afraid that America will vote McCain over a candidate who is willing to meet with Ahmadinejad, it is quite possible that all the passion and revolutionary spirit being stoked by Senator Obama could turn into an equally powerful force of apathy and even rage. We who never felt like participating in the democratic process before (or when we did our votes were not counted), could end up feeling more disappointed and disenfranchised than ever. It's almost worse than never having cared at all. Beware the wrath of the forsaken lover.
Obama, and also Clinton, must be unequivocal in their rhetoric that the need for unity, which they both so often espouse, doesn't just mean unifying around them. It means really unifying around the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates for every office, and holding them to task for all the promises of "justice and change." We newly impassioned citizens need to feel included and incentivized, no matter who gets the nomination.
If Obama is like a lover who has awakened our desire to dream and participate again after so many years in the desert of political apathy, I would just ask that he be responsible and help us channel our newly stirred passion into something even bigger than him, whether or not it works out: the democratic process.
*Jonathan Grannoff, President of the Global Security Institute.
by Lili Haydn, violinist/singer/songwriter whose new album Place Between Places comes out April 1 on Nettwerk Records