Favorite

I want to believe 

In Bernie and more.

It has been interesting around The Observatory recently, what with Junior, now 16, having found his political wings. The Observer's own withered and dropped off some years ago, stunted by our heartfelt belief that Arkansas politics is steadily headed for Lowest Common Denominator Hell in a handbasket (and may well have been there for some time now), and our growing suspicion that if you don't have at least $12 million in your checking account, you're never going to be able to influence the political process anyway. A graying and cynical fart is Junior's Old Man these days.

It has been a joy, however, to watch Junior have his Great Political Awakening, his mother and I shushing him when he's moved to cuss at Trump, playing Devil's Advocate when he wants to discuss the finer points of the Iowa Caucus turnout, listening at the dinner table when he goes on diatribes about the 10,000 ways Mike Huckabee is bad for America, or wanders off into Electoral College Math crystal-gazing.

A passionate son, then, as is his birthright. We remember boring our own Old Man — who was the great originator of our own cynicism about politics — when we were but a lad. Junior, though is much smarter about it than we were; deeper and more informed; a child of the Internet Age, with the vast and limitless knowledge of mankind literally at his speedy fingertips. He knows the ways of Google Fu.

Like a lot of young folks, the majority of Junior's current enthusiasm about politics these days is a result of the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, that kooky-haired septuagenarian from Vermont with all the crazy ideas. You know, ideas like: People in the richest country in the world shouldn't leave college with more debt than if they'd bought a beach house instead of tools to help push the wheel of the American economy.

Junior is nuts about Bernie and his chances, watching the Democratic debates the way most kids his age might watch a Razorback game, doing all but hissing and booing every statement from Hillary Clinton. He has convinced himself Hillary is the Sauron to Bernie's Frodo Baggins, the two of them locked in a struggle to either wield or destroy the One Ring to Rule Them All. To some extent, our young lad has convinced us of that, God help us. He's made his Old Man give a damn about politics for once.

What we haven't had the heart to tell him, of course, is that in a country where it costs literally a half-billion dollars to run for a job that pays $400,000 a year, a guy talking sense about tearing down the growing oligarchy probably doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning the presidency, even if he hadn't been calling himself a socialist since LBJ was in the office he hopes to win. And yes, just for the record, The Observer understands the difference between being a socialist and being a democratic socialist. As Junior has explained to us ad infinitum, the vast majority of Americans are democratic socialists as well — lovers of paved highways, public schools, air traffic control and firetrucks. But good luck trying to split that hair with your average voter, so easily swayed by ominous music and TV ad monster shouting.

As much as Junior is feeling the Bern, it's probably going to be Hillary for the nomination, and Hillary taking the oath of office next January, if the Republican Party goes through with its suicide mission of nominating an orange-haired reality TV buffoon whose answer to any question is to talk about the size of his John Thomas and say: "It's going to be GREAT, OK? Fabulous. You'll see." Hillary's going to eat his lunch in the debates, and he will deserve every moment of that ass kicking.

Still, The Observer will be damned if we don't want to believe in Bernie. Junior's enthusiasm for the process and for his candidate has puffed a little breath onto the dim coal of our own belief in the electoral system, managing to push away — at least temporarily — our nagging fear that this country might be doomed to devolving into a theocratic nightmare, overseen by some Mussolini-esque clown and his corporate masters. Turns out all the newest generation of would-be voters needed was someone to believe in. There will be more of those, even if Bernie can't take the White House this November. Maybe that's all the old and cynical hands like Yours Truly need, too.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

  |  

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • Conspiracy theorists

    Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote.
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
  • Virgil, quick come see

    There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone.
  • Real reform

    Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws.
  • That modern mercantile: The bARn

    The bARn Mercantile — "the general store for the not so general," its slogan says — will open in the space formerly occupied by Ten Thousand Villages at 301A President Clinton Ave.

Latest in The Observer

  • Summer resolutions

    The Observer likes making resolutions at New Year's. We don't manage to keep any of them other than the one we always start with — "Stay Above Ground" — but we do like making them.
    • May 25, 2017
  • More bad news

    As we write this, the Little Rock City Board is readying an ordinance to make it exponentially harder for charities to feed poor and homeless people in city parks.
    • May 18, 2017
  • Art imitates life

    If you're not watching "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu, you should be, if your heart can stand it.
    • May 11, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Paddling the Fourche Creek Urban Water Trail

Underutilized waterway is a hidden gem in urban Little Rock

Event Calendar

« »

May

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation