Saturday, September 13, 2008

Campaign to Nowhere

“So what do you think about the election?” says the lady cab driver.

Thoughts that pass through my head in the next three seconds: I am in Staunton Virginia being driven to a wedding rehearsal dinner by a woman who had just bemoaned the fact that the local state penitentiary has been gutted and is now offering condominium units for two million dollars each. You can smoke in the Waffle House, little girls try to get you to give them a ride to weddings, and complete strangers are so polite my New York DEWS is on red alert.

“I just wish they’d talk more about the issues,” I say, taking the “I’m Sarah Palin and I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about” option.

“I don’t think McCain is going to win,” the cabbie says.

Aha, I think, she’s for McCain. I give her another fence-sitting opinion, the one I’ve been using for about two months now. “If the middle of the country thinks we’re at war, McCain is going to win. If the middle of the country thinks we’re in a Depression, Obama wins.”

“I don’t like either of them saying they’re going to bring everybody back from Iraq. I think, the day they come home? That’s the day the war will come here. That’s the day all the people we’ve been fighting over there will take the fight to us. Because they’ll start thinking we’re so weak we can’t stop them.”

And if that happens, we can kiss goodbye to having conversations like this without also having them transcribed via satellite, I think. But basically I agree with her. Thanks to W, we’re fucked.

“We can’t bring them back,” I say. “Not that quickly.”

“We can’t," she says, and then we talk for a while about how Saddam was an evil tyrant who deserved to be taken down, but after we did it, we had no plan for the next step.

“Nobody’s thinking ahead,” she says.

“Hey, we’re America,” I say. “Home of the credit card. We don’t have to think ahead. If the bill comes due, we’ll throw it on another card.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” the cabbie says, and then she totally confounds my expectations.

“I like the way Obama speaks,” she says. “He seems to know what he’s talking about. Is he the Democrat?”

“He’s the Democrat.”

“I’ll probably vote for him, then. My family always votes Democrat.”

Cripes, I think. Rick Davis is right -– this election isn’t about the issues.

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