Over the last few months we met Ayer the terrorist, Wright the fanatic, and Auntie Zeituni the illegal immigrant. We heard about killing babies, and dissolving the one man, one woman institution called marriage. We debated the risk of Obama the Moslem, I meant the Arab. What is the difference between the two anyway? We argued over his elite attitude, and celebrity status. We envisioned the tiny two-bedroom apartment where his granny Toote raised him on a secretary salary; while his eighteen years old mom studied to earn her college degree. We stepped into McCain’s cell, where he spent five years of his life. We cringed as his captures tortured him. We had to see the towering pictures of his seven houses or ten, who knows? We discussed the dangers of inexperience in turbulent times, and then the two parties’ told us to embrace change and fresh ideas, then the fight became about who got these new ideas.
We learned first that this election is about national security, until it became the economy, and finally we discovered that it is mainly character that count. It has been an extremely long trip with endless turns. I’m exhausted and most likely you are too. So it is with overwhelming sadness and only hours before you walk into the polling stations, I’m sorry to inform you that this election is about none of the above.
On Wednesday morning we will wake up married to one of these two men for the next four years and maybe eight. As a democracy with two party systems this is not the first time. We have selected forty-three men before with varying degrees of success.
However, this election is like no other in the history of the United States, because in these uncharacteristically hard times we have to make a choice not between two accomplished men, or two different economic ideologies, but between two distinctly different worldviews created through personal experiences that shaped America and the world in the eyes of these men.
The Hanoi Hilton experience shaped McCain’s understanding of the world as a dangerous place seeking an opportunity to defeat his America. It is an evil adversary with no principles or humanity, and if you have any doubts you need only to remember the long nights in the dark cell where he waited for the next session of interrogation, or torture, or the pain imposed on him just for the entertainment of his captures. This long suffering enforced the belief that the prosperity of his beloved country will only happen through unyielding determination to fight until the end, that his and America’s humiliation are the product of the diminishing will of the leadership. This is why America should never let its guards down, it should focus on defense, and every thing else should come next.
Barak Obama’s experience is as drastic and vastly different. Imagine opening your eyes as a child on a world where everybody but you has three eyes, or one leg. In his first book “Dreams from My Father,” he remembers his panic reading a story about a black man attempting to remove his skin color using chemicals. Although it is attempting to think that this is a typical racial conflict story. It is not because he was never a black man looking at whites or a white man judging blacks. He couldn’t reject his white mother and grandparents neither he could change the color of his skin.
Obama learned early on that he had to reconcile these vastly different worlds for him to survive, let alone succeed, and he did it.
This is why he believes that his story can repeat, that enemies can set together, discuss their grievances and reach compromises. He thinks that extremely rich people will happily pay little more taxes to insure that the hard working poor can survive. He is not afraid of whites, blacks, Moslems or anybody because his life experience taught him that at a certain level all humans have the same needs, dreams and self-interests. This is Obama’s life experience which created his unique worldview.
Very soon we will become part of one of these two drastically different worlds, so let us hope we get the right version!