There's a ice storm wreaking havoc on the metropolitan DC area this evening. I'm glad I packed my "Get a Grip" treads in my bag today, as I wouldn't have made it down the hill from my car and back into my apartment without them. A friend and I saw a guy take a header on the sidewalk on M Street this afternoon - he was rescued from his painful-looking face-plant by a man campaigning for Obama just outside the "no electioneering zone" for the local polling place. On a slow, freaky drive through Georgetown, I saw a guy on a bike slide off into the ice - and into a car - just ahead of me. As we crept forward across an icy overpass, I saw him swearing and trying to uncrumple his back fender on a slick sidewalk. I heard there was a 20-car pile-up somewhere, but I haven't seen the details yet, and now, we have an ice storm warning until 7 a.m. tomorrow. It's a good night for cocoa, a hot shower, and fuzzy jammies, frankly. I'll worry about my hobble to work tomorrow when I have to. Mañana, baby. Mañana.
Tonight, I'm watching the local primary news and starting to get organized for a personal project I'm about to undertake. (More on that later.) The polls had indicated Barack Obama would sweep the region, and it sure looks like the polls were right this time. By the way, Obama made a stop at my favorite coffee joint, Mayorga, last night. I would have loved to grab a cuppa joe with the Big B.O.
Wait. That just didn't sound right. So not a good candidate nickname...
Speaking of the candidates...
As a child of the North, it was somewhat unsettling for me when I realized that my move to Maryland put me south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I know some of my southern friends will roll their eyes or hiss at me for that bit of of leftover snobbery. We're a few generations removed from the Civil War, yet it echoes for us still. Maryland was a state torn between the Union and the Confederacy, but if you have any doubts about lingering feelings after combat ended, just sneak a peek at the lyrics to the charming lied that is *still* our state song. Here's one of my favorite lines: "Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!" Ahhh, heartwarming!! Speaking as Northern Scum myself, I'd like to thank the Union Army for winning the war.
Nota bene: my mother's Civil War-era peeps were from the South, and they fought and died for the Confederacy. Some are even buried in the Union Army's prison camp cemetery at the Rock Island Arsenal, which adjoins the National Cemetery where my parents are. Imagine my amazement one morning when I saw an African-American children's choir from Georgia on the Fox Morning News, with an African-American choir director whose surname matched the unusual, distinctly Hessian-deserter family name of my mother's kin. I had a brief, horrific moment of realization that some of my ancestors were slaveholdin' suthuhn gentlemuhn. Lovely.
So, here I am today, in my home, south of that bloody line, marveling at the fact that my choices today for the Democratic Party's candidate for president of the United States are a black man and a white woman. Sure, black men and white women have run for president before, but it's never before really been a serious possibility that one of them could - and probably will - occupy the Oval Office. That's amazing to me. And maybe it shouldn't feel so amazing to me, considering the diversity of this nation. Yet, it is still a marvel.
Hillary has never been my candidate of choice. A loooong time ago - well before anyone had declared their plans to run - I actually wrote a blog entry as an open letter to Hillary, asking her to not run. I catalogued all my reasons why I felt she wasn't the right candidate, why she was beatable by a solid Republican... but I never posted it. I think she lacks the charisma required of the leader of the free world. (If there is such a thing as the "free world" after the Bush regime. Stupid bastard.) I think she lacks the personality and power to inspire people, inspire confidence, inspire our allies... And, though god knows I liked Bill Clinton as our president, I think I would have more respect for Hillary if she'd dumped his cheatin' ass.
So, my vote goes to Barack Obama. He's got the charisma. He's smart. He's polished. He doesn't bring the baggage along that Hillary does. (Yes, Hillary, Bill is a double-edged sword.) And there's something intangible that gives him the edge.
I wonder what the Marylander who wrote that charming state song would think of a black man as the frontrunner for president of the United States. I have a feeling he who railed at the "Northern scum" back in 1861 might have suggested that Hell would freeze over before that would happen.
Well, kids, I'm looking out my window at an ice-covered hill and a skating rink of a street. Bethesda may not be the very center of Hades, but we're close enough to the White House to count, I reckon. If what I see tonight is any indication, seems like the Devil needs to wrap up in a few layers. I think we're gonna have a black president.
Bring. It. On.