Wednesday, November 5, 2008

you're gonna go far, kid

Went to the Obama rally last night. The entire city felt electric, and the hour or so wait to get through numerous security checkpoints flew by fast (as did the several hour rally). It went on until maybe 12:30, and we got back to Lincoln Park by 1:15 or so. It was fun, awesome, exciting, historic, but that's all the jazz that you'll get from everybody else who was there. My take is more or less the same.

The one thing where I seem to differ from many people, though, is that I was deeply embarrassed and angry during a couple parts of the rally. They had CNN on a huge screen that everybody was watching, so we got to see McCain's concession speech. As expected, the bulk of the crowd at the rally consisted of people around my age, twenty-something college students. On the one hand, I'm incredibly proud that we came together and won this election, but I have some issues.

The first isn't something that was directly tied to the rally, but a lot of people my age are seemingly pro-Obama because a lot of people my age are seemingly pro-Obama. There is a defintie feeling I got from a hell of a lot of people that it was being treated as more a sporting event than an election in a very important time in our country's history. But that is something I've long accepted and gotten used to; at least they're cheering for the person I believe is the right one for the White House.

The thing that really got to me last night, though, was the hateful nature of this election. There aren't many bumper stickers around, not many shirts around (outside of college campuses), not much talk of it in public a lot of the time, because people are so angry and on-edge about it. People have this idea, both parties alike, that if the other guy wins, the country goes to shit. This notion is ridiculous in any case (I don't agree with the guy, but McCain would have been a definite improvement over Bush) but it bothers me that it's largely the people my age who take the anger and spite to extreme levels.

This could have been just the area of the crowd I was in - I certainly hope that is the case - but during McCain's speech, there were nothing but loud crass boos, people shouting "shut up," "move on," "you suck," incredibly sarcastic parroting or responses to every sentence he said, huge laughs when he slipped up saying something, and all of this got louder and more crass whenever he was saying anything about Obama, regardless of what was actually said.

Now, this was also the case at his rally, you could hear huge boos and crass remarks from that crowd, so maybe what I'm disappointed in isn't politics or one party in particular but instead the entirety of my age group, my generation. Nobody in the Chicago crowd was as loud and crass as them, nobody sounded as unintelligent as them when they made crude sarcastic remarks about McCain or red states, nobody was as embarassing to be around. The final thing that made me want to shoot somebody was the number of people with their god damn cell phones out texting when a preacher was at the podium before Obama came on, delivering a powerful prayer/blessing. I don't care if you're regligious or not, but people should have an ounce of respect.

I know that there are many many people my age who are respectful, intelligent, well-mannered, gracious in both victory and defeat, and I cherish every one of them, but nobody can deny that there are a whole helluva lot of us who are downright disrespectful. It's a big thing that so many of us stepped up and came together to get something done, but if the way many were acting at the rally is any indication, we still have quite a long way to go.

On an unrelated tech-help desk note... you wouldn't believe how many people mention that they have gotten viruses in the past and "had to get a new laptop." They didn't even try to fix it or to take it to Best Buy or something to get fixed - they just bought a new one. I can only assume their parents were the ones doing the purchasing. I wish I had that kind of money, to just buy a new laptop whenever IE crashes once or twice.

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