a great moment, but the end of good times

a great moment, but the end of good times

“Life was such a wheel that no man could stand upon it for long.
And it always, at the end, came round to the same place again.”

Stephen King, being a fellow Red Sox fan, would probably not be thrilled that I quote the final lines of The Stand at the end of the Red Sox season with the hope that this is a good sign. But then again, I know his politics and maybe he would.

I hope this is the fucking end. The Red Sox have lost, the possibility of another amazing comeback has been squandered with leaving too many men on base tonight. And as much as I don’t believe in god, religion, or pretty much any higher power, I hope this means things have come full circle.

“We were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave . . .”

Hunter wrote this words about San Francisco in the sixties, but Hunter bowed out of this game a few years ago, unable to take it any longer. I would never stoop to that because I don’t believe in suicide (unless you’re terminal), don’t believe in letting go the any chance you get to go around (not believing in an afterlife makes it easier to spurn suicide). But my high and beautiful wave was 2004.

In 2004, such amazing things were happening in my life. I owned a house. I got out of a job I was miserable at. My cultural hobbies were peaking (lead by Return of the King rightfully sweeping the Oscars). I was in grad school, enjoying it, and looking forward to the next step. I had my son. My wonderful, beautiful son. And it seemed he was a fantastic good luck charm, because my sports world had finally risen to the top.

Sports is very hard for me to watch at times because in the end, it doesn’t mean much in the world, and because I have no way of actually having an effect on the outcome. On the other hand, I love sports for those same reasons. Nothing I do can make it better or worse. It doesn’t really matter on a grand scale. It’s just for sheer enjoyment. And everything was going right. The Pats had just won another Super Bowl, I got to watch Shaq and his Lakers lose in the NBA Finals. And the Red Sox. Of course, the 2004 Red Sox, my favorite sports team of all time.

But that was it. I became so convinced that everything was peeking so perfectly that the election would swing to Kerry. Everything was aligned, except, apparently, for voters. Over 58 million of them as it turned out, who it seemed, didn’t mind the mess in Iraq, the financial plan that was sending us spiraling into debt, the potential right wing swing of the Supreme Court. And what I thought was the harbinger of great times ahead – the Red Sox coming from behind to beat the Yankees, then sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series, winning Game 2 on my 30th birthday, turned out, instead, to be the last of the great times for me for a while.

Except for sports. The Sox and Pats stayed good, if not great. Then in the last year, everything peaked. The Red Sox came from behind again and I was there for Game 7 of the ALCS. The Pats came within a crazy pass of going 19-0. The Celtics were reborn and hung a 17th banner. And then it looked like the Red Sox were going to do it again. They came back from down 7-0 in Game 5. Won Game 6. And tonight, they had the early lead and a number of chances to win it, and just couldn’t do it. And maybe it’s for the best.

I no longer own a house (in fact, we live in a oil-heated apartment which we were lied to about when we rented it and when the heat kicked in on this very cold weekend, it kept setting off the fire alarm). Because of circumstances during my M.A. exam, my professors declined to write me letters of recommendation to a PhD program, thus killing my career plans. Every time I think we have a handle on our finances, the rug comes out from under us, which is why, when Thomas needs us both at home with him more than ever, I am out working a second job. And he keeps having rather frightening meltdowns. Even a simple thing, like taking a trip to see our new niece gets fucked when our nephew gets the flu and we don’t go.

2005 had been a transition year. My two remaining grandparents had died. We moved across the country. I started a new job and Veronica started school. So I wrote it off. 2006 was like the anti-matter version of 2004 (the Oscars, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the World Series, even the election) with the added stress of my parents divorce. So I went into 2007 thinking, this is the year things are better. But I started to hate working at Borders, the divorce got ugly, I got mugged, we had the yellowjacket infestation and so we moved, and I thought, things will get better, but we had the oil fiasco that strapped our finances (over $2000 last winter – and $300 so far this winter and we haven’t even hit my birthday yet), then this year the car got hit and I had to go back to work at Borders.

the hope that I belive in

the hope that I believe in

And so here we are, four years later.  And the Red Sox are now out of it.  There will be no miracle comeback this year, no World Series title.  And once again we are poised for an election.

In 2000, Gore was dealing with the fact that Clinton had made a lot of personal mistakes and was trying to distance himself from him.  He was also dealing with the personal dislike many people have for Tipper, as well as the fact that a lot of people were voting for Nader, not because they thought he was the better candidate, but because they believed very deeply in the need for a viable Third Party and were hoping for the 5% to start receiving matching funds.

In 2004, many conservatives were mobilized at the last minute by the need to stop social progress and Kerry didn’t help himself much.  I think many people just looked at him and couldn’t imagine him being the leader of the free world.

We have no such issues this year.  This time it is the Republicans that are running against their own president.  This time it is the Democrat who strikes a more presidential demeanor.  But those are just surface issues.  What’s important is what you believe.

Here’s what I believe:

  • That even though I have no money to spare and need every penny, I don’t begrudge a single dollar of my taxes because they go to important services.  And I don’t have money to spare.  The rich should quit their whining and pay more taxes.  It’s how society works you greedy whiners.
  • That a woman has the right to choose, a right that has been consistently upheld by the Supreme Court and the health of a mother is important damn it.  I was born in a hospital where they would have sacrificed the mother to save the child.  To hell with that.  My mother is right: social conservatives only care about a person from conception to birth, after that everyone is on their own.
  • The war in Iraq is wrong.  We should never have gone there.  We shouldn’t be there.  They don’t want us there.  We need to stop being there.  Didn’t Korea and Vietnam teach that it’s wrong to send our soldiers to die to support a world view?
  • That being eloquent is a good thing.  That being smart is a good thing.  My mother likes to quote the film Harvey: “My mother told me, Elwood, in life, you can be oh so pleasant or so smart.  Well, Doctor, for years, I was smart.  I recommend pleasant.”  The junior Senator from Illinois and senior Senator from Delaware happen to be both.  The senior Senator from Arizona and Governor of Alaska happen to be neither.
  • I wouldn’t give a shit if my candidate was an Arab or a Muslim or a transvestite with a bad haircut.  What’s important is what the person does and what they believe is right for the country.  If you refuse to vote for a person because of who they are, that makes you a bigot!  Probably a racist!
  • Our standing in the world is in pathetic shape.  It is good to elect someone who is willing to sit down with other countries rather that just threaten them.  It makes the world a safer place.
  • Autism and Down’s Syndrome are not the same thing.  Learn the god damn difference.
  • The 14th Amendment applies to all people.  You don’t want to marry someone of your gender?  Don’t do it.  You have no right to force your belief on other people.  Keep your religious beliefs out of my life.  I don’t have your beliefs.

So now we come down to the fact of the matter.  The Red Sox are out and in a sense I’m glad, because I hope that closes the circle and the world can move forward again.  That I can move forward again.  That a few better things start happening in our lives.  I am voting for Barack Obama, and not just for the reasons above.  I am voting for him also, because there are words that Richard Goodwin, who worked for John F. Kennedy wrote about the late president that I think are extremely applicable to Senator Obama.  They are good words and I leave them here to remind everybody that this is a reason to vote for someone:

“Style is the archway though which power enters into historical memory: the judicious, dignified Washington, the poetic Lincoln, the ebullient Franklin Roosevelt.  Kennedy has not yet won a place in that company, but if he does it won’t be because of the space program or the missile crisis.  It will be be because what he was helped remind us of what we could be.”