Wednesday, October 29, 2008

He's Black!

The gnawing fear I have in my gut right now, about the election, is this: At the penultimate moment, National Guard soldiers will be called in to block the polls. They'll be arrayed in well-practiced formations around the perimeters, legs spread slightly, M-16s at the ready across their chests. Commanders will engage tactfully with the puzzled citizenry who'd hoped to exercise their franchise. They'll wave their arms: "No, no, no. Go home everyone. Go home peacefully, please."

"Why? What's going on?"

"No voting today, folks. Go home. Go peacefully."

"What do you mean, no voting?"

"There's no voting. John McCain has won. Go home."

"What do you mean he won?"

"There can be no election, people. There is no voting today. There is no voting for Barack Obama."

"No voting for Barack Obama?"

"He's BLACK. HE'S BLACK, FOLKS. The election is over. There is no voting. There is no voting for a black man. Go home."

Government officials and the Republican high and mighty will be on all the networks, asserting minute variations of the same message: "There can be no election today; one of the candidates is black. How dare anyone think that our nation might actually have gone through with this? Anyone who thought they could vote for Barack Obama is a fool. Of course they can't. He's BLACK. You didn't expect us to actually put our nation in that sort of peril, did you? You'll be glad we intervened. It's over now. Everyone remain calm."

There will be a flurry of outrage, but by the end of the afternoon we'll all grow tired, hungry. Docile. We'll cook dinner and eat it in front of reality TV, placing salty forkfuls in our mouths, masticating unhappily. We might cry a tear or two of shame. Really, what were we thinking? How naive, how stupid. To think we might have, today, voted a black man to the presidency of the United States! Of course they stopped us. Of course. What did we expect?

OK, that's my fear. If it doesn't happen, I think Obama's got a pretty good chance.

Illustration by Louise Asherson