In a country where everything is scripted from "reality" shows to politician’s canned speeches, Tuesday, November 4th 2008 is the rare exception. Because twenty one months ago, when a young African-American Senator from Illinois announced his candidacy for the highest office in this land, no one predicted that he would come this close. By nature, I am a skeptic. I didn’t think he would topple the juggernaut Clinton machine. I didn’t think he would be able to win over "white" voters and keep them in his corner until Election Day. I didn’t think a candidate with such a clear message about a misguided war and a condemnation of a sitting President’s policies would be successful in helping American voters see the light. After all, I had even less faith in America’s electorate given that they voted for George W. Bush not once but twice. And if anyone was going to be able to do these things, it wasn’t going to be a skinny black man with a funny sounding name.
Yet here we are–at the barricades on the eve of a revolution. And this time, the revolution will be televised and it will be in black and white and every other color held in this nation’s political spectrum. And the choice for Armenia’s couldn’t be clearer. Because when it comes to Armenian-American issues, Senator John McCain is more of a Bush clone than a real maverick. Just search his record on the issue when he ran in 2000. And there’s no way anyone can actually believe that his lady-in-waiting reborn prima donna hockey mom–Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska–even has the slightest clue as to where Armenia is; or what the Armenian Genocide was; or why Nagorno Karabakh should be independent. She’s a woman who takes pride in being "folksy" which is a modern political term to describe someone who has the intelligence of a dung beetle. I think America not only saw the preview of what a "folksy" person is capable of unleashing while in the White House but we also saw the matinee, the main event and are too fed up to sit through a sequel.
But is this Senator Barack Hussein Obama the one to save the country from making the wrong decision the third time over? Will he be the one to restore America’s dignity and integrity in a world where both of those iconic American characteristics have lost their value faster than newly constructed tract home in a Las Vegas suburb? I don’t know. But I sure hope he will be. Because growing up in America, I was led to believe that anybody can become President. But as an adult I learned that the reigns of power were reserved for a select few. And now; Now it’s almost Tuesday. And each of us have the opportunity to vote in the nation’s most important American Idol competition. The one that really counts.
There’s a saying in Armenian that keeps ringing through my head as I’ve followed this two year long race for the Presidency. It’s a saying straight out of my mother’s rolodex of sage advice that is based on old country common sense but also a history of being oppressed and frequently disappointed. After all, such is the luck of the Armenia’s. More than once, she’s warned me "Don’t hate too much, there’s love. Don’t love too much, there’s hate." I’ve tried to follow this advice of looking at situations, objects and even people who’ve earned my adoration with balance and parity. And I try to remember to maintain this balance as Election Day draws closer and use it as a way of checking myself when I feel carried away in the moment. After all, it’s hard to believe in any candidate for President when so many of them have let you down in the past. Every four years, there’s a new candidate on the scene who promises that they’re going to change Washington, keep their numerous promises and put this country on the right track and every time, either they lose or after they win, they forget who put them there in the first place. Tuesday is going to be a historic day. Whatever your political beliefs, the outcome of Tuesday’s election is going to determine the course of this country in ways that will ripple and touch people of every walk of life, of every generation, of every nation in this world.
I don’t know if Obama is going to be the one who will fulfill all his promises. I want to believe but still feel burned. It’s an Armenian characteristic to feel this way. To not trust. To feel betrayed.
I called my mother up the other night after watching Obama’s prime time special on TV followed by his joint public speech with former President Clinton. We talked about the weather and work and health and family and then I asked her. "Did you watch Obama’s speech tonight?" She paused and then said "Your father and I watched it." I asked her what she thought. "I liked it," she said.
Liked it. Liked is not love. But you can’t love too much. Because there’s always; There’s always tomorrow. Here’s to making history. Let’s get this young black man to the White House.
Sketpik Sinikian is tired of his country being run by dung beetles and urges everyone to join him on November 4 in voting for this skinny black man with a funny sounding name. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.