A Super Tuesday? Let's hope....

Sam Hart

2008-05-06 16:04:19

A little word from the late Hunter S. Thompson on the "End of America", which is very timely on this day of the Indiana Democratic Primary. Hunter S. was talking about the news media immediately after 9/11, but his words ring very true today.

I sincerely hope that everyone here in the state that I live (Indiana) goes out today and makes the right vote for our country. Personally, I think the right vote is Obama. He is one of only two very intelligent and thoughtful presidential candidates we've had in my life (the other was Carter), and I, for one, think we are in dire need of intelligence in the White House.

I'm sure there are those out there who will call me elitist to think such a thing, but that is something I simply don't understand. We've seen (rather disastrously) what the effects can be on this country when someone of sub-par mental caliber leads it for eight long years.

Furthermore, why is it intellectuals can be called elitist for pointing out truths that people don't want to accept, but it's perfectly acceptable for non-intellectuals to call us all sorts of horrible things and get away with it? It's a double standard. Listen, I can't help that my tested IQ is in the top two percentile (although I'm among those who are suspect of IQ as a measure of intelligence, it still is a good yard stick that helps gauge a person's current intelligence). I can't help it that I have encyclopedic knowledge on diverse and obscure technical subjects. If you believe in a supreme creator, then that's just how he/she/it created me.

And yet there has been this growing tide of anti-intellectualism in this country in the last eight years of Bush's reign. Scientific methodology that has produced medicines, cured diseases, landed us on celestial bodies, and given us the technology that powers this website and your computer, is under attack by radical anti-intellectuals who cling to their factually incorrect ideologies in spite of ample evidence to the contrary, all the while not remembering that their ideologies have been able to grow and adapt in the face of earlier conflicts. It has even gone so far as to hear phrases like "science leads you to killing people" being uttered by pseudo-intellectuals who are trying to push their junk science.

Which leads me back to the double standard: How is it okay for someone like Ben Stein to claim that "science leads to killing people" but it's not okay for Obama to (correctly) point out that people of this country clinging to their outdated superstitions is a problem? Double standards abound.

Anyway, this country needs someone like Obama; We need him on many levels.

We need his intelligence and reason, because we live in an uncertain and dangerous world where the same sort of cowboy international policy we've had for the last eight years will lead to even worse ends than it already has.

We need his ability to rise above the politicking and bickering, because we have diverse interest groups with radically competing interests and need to find common ground. Some have said he is being aloof, but those that do don't understand how important this feature is in this day and age.

Finally, we need him to be elected to show that we're still an intellectual force in this world. What I mean here, in politically incorrect and direct terms, is: We need a black man to overcome the undercurrent of racism that still plagues this country, a black man with a middle name that scares conservative white America, a black man to become President. The fact that this black man is also a brilliant and stalwart man makes it even better.

And, really, this brings me full circle back to the primaries today in Indiana. I've lived lots of places. I've lived in Wyoming, home of Dick Cheney and a place where cowboys still roam (not that they can be really be called "cowboys"). I've lived in Utah, where a culture of blandness and inanity exists and persons who fall outside of the norm (intellectually, culturally, etc.) are ostracized. I've lived in Arizona, where I actually met McCain in person... He was already an old bastard then. I've lived in Mississippi, where I was shocked to see racism in overt and public ways. I've lived on the Navajo Nation, where I was the minority and experienced what it was like to have racism target me.

Finally, I wound up here in Indiana. Indiana is a highly peculiar place for a northern state. Cristian conservatism runs rampant out here, with an emphasis on the radical evangelical preachings so very incongruent with modern society. Racism rushes like a torrential underground river, constantly threatening to collapse the ground under your feet due to underground erosion. "Flag sucking patriotism", as Hunter S. so aptly put it, is the norm here in Indiana, and it's impossible to swing a dead cat in this state without hitting another truck or SUV bespeckled with "Support Our Troops", "God Bless America", "The only good liberal is a dead liberal", or "I'd rather hunt with Cheney than ride with Kennedy".

I mention all this not to bemoan Indiana and the people living here (in fact, I know a great deal many living here who are completely reasonable). I mention this because, let's face facts, Obama has an uphill battle here. A big one.

But if, just for today, my fellow citizens of Indiana could just go out and make the right decision for this country, nominate a strong, intellectual black man, then there is hope for this country.