McCain in Prescott

Yesterday morning I was walking my dog around the Prescott courthouse. There were barriers set up to enclose the grounds, these steel fence sections which anybody could jump over but which defined the top down system of governing McCain represents. The Courthouse is in the middle, and at the boundaries there are barriers and armed guards protecting the center from potential terrorists, aka, political opposition. It where McCain ended up his campaign last night.

Prescott is where he launched his senate and Presidential campaigns. It is the heart of Arizona, the territorial capital and the home of one of the world's oldest rodeos. It is the oldest continuous rodeo. There are lot of pickup trucks with McCain Palin stickers, and when the war started, there were bully boys going around the block at the courthouse, waving flags and spoiling for the fight.

There were a few anti-war protestors as the war progressed, usually dressed in black and mourning the dead. But they were not respected, because they were on the fringe of society. The gun toting maverick is the social ideal. Or at least he was, once upon a time. Now he's becoming a kind of caricature of something that used to be adapted to its environment. When the environment changes there's always obsolescence. Like the Russians trying to resurrect the sturdy and simple minded peasant, the Republican right has tried to conserve the image of the independent, self-sufficient cowboy who lives by a code and dies without complaint.

The story is told of Pancho Villa being gunned down in a Mexican marketplace and laying there, covered with fruit and vegetables, saying, "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."

And so McCain was on the courthouse steps last night, when I was back in San Francisco, where a scattering of people are standing on the corners in the neighborhood with signs urging voters to reject the proposition which intends to refuse legitimacy to same sex marriages. This isn't a particularly gay neighborhood, and some of these kids walking around with their signs look uncomfortable to me. I imagine their showing up to volunteer and being sent out with their signs and literature to hand out, as if anybody in this city is politically unaware of the issues involving the politics of equality under the law, and separation of church and state.

The northern California coast is probably the most politically aware area in the nation, because it is the melting pot. People have to accommodate a host of other people who are very different, culturally. San Francisco is an Asian city with several minorities, one of them caucasians. Because so many different kinds of people have to live together in harmony in this small space, people are afforded privacy in their personal space, the way it is done in Japan. A paper wall is all that is needed when the neighbor is respectful of the barrier. When there is no respect, there is no privacy.

In Prescott recently a man advertised on Craigslist for a woman to live with him in exchange for free rent. I heard that the cops found some drugs, cocaine, I think. He was arrested for soliciting prostitution and felony possession. Teenagers gather on the courthouse lawn, and recently a young college student was arrested for having a little marijuana with her. She is a criminal. Morality laws shine down on the town from the courthouse, which is protected by guards and barriers from a libertarian complacency that accommodates human instinctual behaviors. This leads them to believe that people are not evolved animal life, but sprang into being from a god in heaven.

The two views reflect a top down rule and a bottom up organization. What is behind us and still ruling us is tribalism and division. What we can evolve toward consciously, and thus be swimming with the tide, is multi-culturalism and a racial melting pot, which you can't look at Obama and not see as a pretty good thing. This guy was smart enough to outmaneuver the Clinton machine, which was like David against Goliath. If he wins today, as I have faith he will, it's because he has successfully communicated that it's not him, it's us. We have to decide if we are going to have a bottom up democratic state or a top down military state. He's just agreed to represent us as our attorney. He has organized us and suddenly we have organized political power. That's a good deal for us. He's not just Harvard Law, he's the best Harvard Law could produce, and you only pay what you're willing to donate.

It is ironic that McCain chooses to close his campaign in Prescott, in imitation of Barry Goldwater, whose credo was, "Mind your own business." Goldwater was an original supporter of Planned Parenthood, pro choice on homosexuality, and a staunch defender of keeping religion and politics separated. His father was Jewish and his mother, Episcopalian. His chief speech writer was an anarchist.

I didn't even consider staying an extra day in Prescott to listen to McCain's speech. He represents, to me, more of the same. I don't want more of the same, because it's brutal, depressing and ugly. It tries to bring up in me what is like that. I don't want to be like that. I'd rather be like Obama. I know it is something I have lost in myself that lights him up. It is a mercurial cleverness, a flashing joy in the smile, an easy acceptance of being both cool and brilliant at the same time. I know he can't carry all these projections if they are unconscious. If we make them unconscious we will lose him.

But if we are conscious that what we see in him is something that we have to own in ourselves, we will redeem our shadow. Our black man will redeem his vanilla gorilla and the white man will redeem his rhythm and blues. When we make the choice to turn away from what is brutal and jealous and greedy in ourselves, then we can own our black and our white, Christian and Muslim, African and American, European and Asian, and grow into a new consciousness. It starts today, with a choice to leave behind what is familiar, but has become a death trap, and move into a future in which we are a fully integrated human race. It might be right out of a William Gibson novel but whatever it is, it's better than trying to go backward, down into the bunker of Dr. Strangelove.


Here is part of an email I got from Linda this morning:

I went home last night about 11, and there were police sitting at every intersection all the way through town, sometimes two or three.  It was a little strange!  I watched the Prescott rally on MSNBC, but I didn't see anything that made it look much like Prescott except for the courthouse of course.  They didn't show any of the protestors (there were a few) or any local people.  Stevie said that there were helicopters and cops down by her school earlier in the evening.  This morning they're cleaning up the stage.  Last night I saw what looked like some Prescott College kids walking down to the courthouse with suits on!!!  that was surreal.

Posted: Tue - November 4, 2008 at 02:15 PM