Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Bodacity of Hope

Just as the melting ice slowly twirls about in my tumbler of Old Pulteney Single Malt, the slowly twisting path of fresh-eyed optimism makes it's way back into the quadrennial path of the Presidency. This isn't to say that John Edwards isn't making a claim to the same exact mantle place, but the clearcut New Hope in this cycle has to be Barack Obama, who just a few days ago formed his Presidential exploratory committee. An excerpt from his exploratory announcement speech sums his wild path to stardom up succinctly when he says, "I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics."

So it has come about, the pipe dream of so many has now begun to show the tiniest bit of distant light in the uniquely political way of creating an opening to donate, donate, donate! With that, the Dems now have two monster front runners - Barack and the yet-to-announce Hillary, who had to play a little bit of damage control upon Obama's announcement. She cancelled her own press conference that day, live from Iraq, and spent the next day on a total media blitz. It wasn't any ordinary media blitz, either. Hilly made it clear that she was no Hawk on Iraq. She even went a little gut feeling Bush-y on us, telling NPR yesterday morning that "I was listening for a level of commitment to securing Iraq by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi army and police force that has been missing, and I didn't hear that." Now she and Chris Dodd both are advertising a troop cap, while Obama basks in his anti-war credentials from 2002. There he speaks of Civil War, just as today his team promotes him as a modern-day Honest Abe, an Illinoisan of modest experience but profound judgment. Problem is, he ain't Kentuck.

On the other side of the aisle, most of the noise has come from fringe candidates. The fervent anti-immigration Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has been rumored to announce any day now. His first, his last, his everything is immigration: "There is no doubt that America is facing an illegal immigration crisis. Currently, there are at least 12 million illegal aliens living in America I am absolutely opposed to amnesty or guest worker program in any form." That. of course, being the first line of his website's issues statement. I fully understand that I sound dismissive, but I want to make it clear that I have had very little direct negative impact placed upon my own livelihood by illegal aliens, so I must not have the clear understanding of it that Team T does. I mean, I get paid to teach fractions to 55 kids who weren't born here. I say bring 'em on! Tancredo, meanwhile, lists his favorite activities to be "skeet shooting" and "playing ball".

There is also Dr. Ron Paul (L-TX), who is briefly abandoning his Libertarian roots to battle for the GOP nod in 2008. Congressman Paul is an actual MD, and an OB-GYN to boot! He throws down a weekly column on his official government page and represents the Spring Break/old school cowboy Gulf Coast region of Galveston, TX and the Matagorda Islands. I read a Louis L'Amour book called Matagorda once. It was pretty badass. Let's hope Paul can be replaced on the fringe this year with, I dunno, Sam Brownback. More Brownback, just in case.
In non-Presidential news, Quabbin weather has been Qonsistently Qrapping out on us. All MLK weekend I would hear reports of impending snow and frigid temperatures, only to hear recanted forecasts and see a continuation of 40 degrees and drizzle. It dipped chilly on Wednesday, but here it is half past midnight on Thursday night and the 9pm snow schedule has been pushed back yet again. I left for a run at 8pm tonight hoping to come across some early flurries, but there was nothing in the air but a strange frozen mist that left a crunchy mix of frozen sand on the street. No blanket of snow, and certainly no white reflective covering on the roads. When I hit the Gulf Road wilderness I had to slow to a crawl because I literally couldn't see the ground in front of my feet. But Don't Stop Believin' was my theme song tonight, and I was able to stick it out past the blindness and get in a full run.
While I was out there, and having committed three miles, I started thinking about faith. It was faith of sorts that pushed me through the dark part of my run tonight. While I could not see the ground as I was running, I knew that there would always be something for me to land on because I had done it before, and because I wanted to do it again. I reckon there could have been a cavernous pothole, but I had faith that there wasn't. It was a small faith, but it was enough that I was proud to overcome my hurdle. When you think of the things that people do, and the strength one can gain, it really boggles the mind. On the one hand you have Martin Luther King, Jr. doing his amazing work. On the other you have a bunch of shitbags bent on destroying things. And then you have a Presidential race every four years where people waste days upon days of time watching pundits, write checks for $2,000 as often as they can, and spend hours in the cold waving signs on a November tuesday. None of this happens without faith. Even for the faithless, there are dark country roads and a running log waiting back at home. Everything goes well and I'll hit 35 this week for the first time in five months. I do it on faith that when I am out on the roads in the dark, that I will smell some old smell or remember some old memory that just might trigger some new idea of faith, and that will keep me going on one more run, keep me watching one more hour of convention coverage next July. Who knows, maybe I'll break 17 again. Maybe I'll get a job in the White House. Maybe I'll just pour myself another and worry about how I butchered all those pure and beautiful thoughts I had on the road with the frozen mist propping my hair up like I was some cameo actor in Twin Peaks.
Preparing to Fare Thee Well a couple of amigos,

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