Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As Barack Obama seems to be cruising to victory, it crossed my mind the other day that he is spectacularly positioned for what is referred to in the wrestling business as a "heel turn." I'm not trying to suggest that on day one he's going to smash Nancy Pelosi in the face with a folding chair. But from a storytelling standpoint, if you were going to have a character morph unexpectedly into a tyrannical despot, you'd be hard pressed to come up with a better setup than what seems to be developing.

There's an almost mystical sense of convergence between this man and this moment in history. He's a transformational figure without even doing anything. The mere fact of his skin color represents a tectonic shift in American society. There's not a few people who are already looking at the dude to be some kind of Messiah. He's looking to ride into office with a big majority, cruising a tidal wave of economic anxiety. The Democrats might pick up enough seats to not only crush the Republicans in any vote, but to prevent them from even blocking a vote. It would only add dramatic irony that he's following on a President who made jabs at seizing dictatorial power, but ultimately proved hapless at everything. 

I'm not speculating that something like this might happen, I'm just speaking as someone who likes to invent compelling storylines using the available components. I personally find it hilarious that the Republicans are spinning apocalyptic visions of a popular Democratic mandate. They ask us to imagine a nightmare scenario where a single party controls both the executive and legislative branches, its power unchecked, running roughshod over the constitution, remaking the country in its image, emptying the treasury in the service of its long-held obsessions and mad utopian fantasies, all the while funneling obscene amounts of cash to its friends and cronies. I mean come on. It's a compelling argument, but I can't see anything like that ever happening in reality. 


Leland Purvis said...

You bring up an umcomfortable fear, or a number of them, really. First, we are all likely to be dissappointed in this guy, the expectations and hopes are just too high. Just think about his switch in policy regarding the war.

Secondly, history reminds that many of the biggest dictators in history, Caesar, Napoleon, even Castro, come to power initially as champions of the common people against the elite.

Kevie said...

Didn't you hear? On inauguration day he's going to peel off his face and announce the end times.