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On Barack Obama and 'the art of the possible'

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Thought I'd find you here, said my friend in his weathered voice.

I didn't look around, just kept staring at the trickle of water the drought had made of my once singing brook, but he didn't take the hint, just stepped on into the shade of towering maples he'd helped plant 20 years before. He sat beside me on the wood and rusting metal bench. He'd neatly bundled his muscles and flab in black running shorts and t-shirt that read Camelot Redux in green.

Reaching into a pocket of his running shorts, he took out a crumpled pack of Winstons, kicked back and lit up.

So what do you want? I asked.

This ain't about me, buddy. He shook the pack at me, but I waved it away. You've been derelict.

How so?

No columns slamming Dubya lately, no blogs in days, no emails. He laughed and adopted a high-pitched tone. You don't write, you don't phone. What's with you?

You know as well as I do.

I guess I do. You hung it all out there for your latest hero, Barack Hussein Obama, writing how he's a man of peace and science and harmony and of utmost charisma—thought I'd throw up--about how he's going to lead us from the desert of despair and corporate politics and into the promised land the new millennium was supposed to be before it got hijacked by a crooked election and 9/11 and a really stupid war…. So how does Obama repay you? He does the utterly predictable thing and steps down off the pedestal you put him on, and now you feel all betrayed.

And you don't?

His snort sent a smoke ring sailing past yellow jewelweed where a hummingbird thrummed. Betrayed? For what? Supporting our troops on Fourth of July? Wearing a lapel pin? Trying to get a piece of the faith-based action? Making nice with Billary? In my book that's all utterly predictable, even commendable because it's effective. You'll see, come November.

Wish I could agree, I said. Barack's supposed to be different. Now he says he'll increase the god-blessed defense budget! One that's already as big as the rest of the world's defense budgets added together. He's come out in support of immunity for corporations that spied on us for Dubya, says he'll boost faith-based charities, weakening the line between church and state….

So what? He's still different. Or at least will be, after he's been the same ole same ole long enough to get elected.

Yeah right, I grumbled. I expected McCain to flip-flop on torture and so forth, he has to court hard-right Republicans, but I didn't expect this bait and switch deal from Obama, man, it brings me down.

My heart bleeds for you, man. Bleeds, I tell you. Just what species did you think you were dealing with? McCain and Obama are sleazy politicians. By which I mean, they're doing what they have to in order to get elected. By which I mean, they're honorable men. Was it Otto Von Bismarck who said 'Politics is the art of the possible?' If you don't get elected, you don't do diddly. To quote Kurt Vonnegut, no cat, no cat's cradle.

What's that supposed to mean?

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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, short story writer, freelancer, and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the (more...)
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