Lance Armstrong. A name from a teenage boy novel. Like who didn't know the guy was a phony. Something totally irritating about him, but then I could never trust a man in bicycle shorts. They embarrass me, like a dumb swimmer's wardrobe--- and then the helmet... and if that wasn't enough, the Sheryl Crow thing-- -the blatant fame sucking.... and now, from some, he gets a little of the sympathy vote. Does he give back the money with the endorsements, the trophies? Do I even care?
This is the year of Lance Armstrong. Of Sandusky. A-Rod. Mitt Romney. What is it, America--- it's not enough that these people are the lying puppet versions of some symbol we have lost... it's that we continue to buy tickets to their theatres. How many years ago did we sing 'We won't get fooled again'?
I mean, we have a president--- a black man, to whom I pledged all belief, in 2008. I made phone calls-- -I raised cash-- I was passionate. And now even he seems--well, downright flippant. It's as though we have a breakfast menu choice here between --well, a Democratic bowl of American cream of wheat with brown sugar, or a Republican photograph of bacon and eggs. A picture. Personally, I can't eat paper. Or pixels. Whatever.
I heard Bruce Springsteen tonight sheepishly playing his brand-new campaign song offering on an acoustic guitar, no doubt for much too large an audience. The Bruce Springsteen with the Grecian Formula hair, like Romney's. Giggling, he was, making fun of the fact he'd run out of things to rhyme with Obama. The song was dumb, apologetic. Stupid. Like a couple of frat boys sitting around after too many beers, ad-libbing. I failed to find the point or the humor. It's not a moment for playing rhyming games. This is a country, a world-changing decision. Okay, it's Bruce, not Oprah. But it felt like the movie version of this campaign... like there is no longer any real world. The Detroit pitcher had more conviction before he threw a breaking ball. More commitment.
I'm tired of the digs and scripted humor, of the snide clever repartee. The news anchormen and women are over-styled and too chatty. They announce some tragic event and then they comment on someone's tie; their new puppy. They wink and smirk. I don't want to be friends with these people; I want some sobriety and some truth with my news. I've noticed the doctors in those TV dramas these days tell jokes while performing dangerous surgery. Maybe there's my writerless metaphor-of-the-moment: America the anesthetized country on the operating table, our president in a white coat studying x-rays and making clever funny analogies while the Republican candidate is scrubbing to do a triple bypass without ever attending medical school. Who let the dogs in?
We are going to wake up on the other side of a fence that has no return entry. Doesn't anyone get this? I get a daily barrage of Obama-driven requests for money and cute little slogans and soundbites. Tweets. I want to be shaken. I want my neighbors to be shaken. I want someone to realize that it's fine to obsess about the wedding and the flowers and the bridesmaids and the ceremony--- but it's the marriage... it's the next four years and the perilous path we could be on toward eradicating the version of democracy that shaped my generation. The grass will definitely be greener on the other side, and we will have lost access to that field forever. It will be mere nostalgia which we will contemplate with growing bitterness and regret. Are we that dumb? To fall for a man with Lance-worthy swagger and false leader-ly bravado? At least Reagan could once act. This actor is nasty.
So sit down Bruce. You're a confusing political message at best. A New Jersey billionaire in a denim shirt who lately has acquired a Clinton-esque accent. A songwriting cowboy in a gated community. We need to turn off our ipods and televisions and get tough and smart. We need to use the minds Madison Avenue told us are a terrible thing to waste. We need our president to stand up and one-two it and earn our trust and respect. I don't want to live in a Lance Armstrong world. I don't want to see Beyonce singing instead of Etta James at the next Inaugural Ball. What were they thinking? Etta's ironically no longer around to separate the women from the girls by example. And if we don't wake up, we won't be able to tell the difference between grass and turf. This is not an SNL debate spoof...but from the comments and footage I see, I'm confused.
I'm sick of the rich guys winning. I'm especially sick of the bad rich guys buying us off and winning.
I'm even glad the Yankees lost. But this election isn't the World Series. It's our future that will strike out. My future. My kids. I'm ashamed to be represented by a smirky snarky tilted misogynistic power-seeker in a suit. We need to use our hearts and our ideals and our eyes and ears and rip the masks off. Mr. President--- you're not a super-hero, you're a man with a good brain and decent instincts and we elected you as such. It's your final obligation as president with home-field advantage to come up with not a song but a slammer in this last inning. Yes.