The Audacity to Laugh

The McCain campaign's only hope is to take away ours.


So
how do you explain "The One" ad the McCain campaign is running in which
they make fun of Obama for being a pretend messiah? (Well, that's the
best way to put it. At worst they accuse him of being a false messiah
i.e., the anti-Christ. But I don't believe there's enough theological
sophistication or biblical knowledge at work in that campaign to even
be aware of this possible interpretation.)

Here's
how I think it went down: An old, battle-scared, desperate staff let a
group of emo college kids, wracked by cynicism and high on Red Bull,
have the production studio for a night.
 
And, if the truth be told, what emerged is a pretty funny – in a David
Letterman kind of way – shtick. The honorable Mr. Heston as Moses
parting the Red Sea?!? I laughed out loud, a snorting
i'm-glad-i-wasn't-drinking-milk-out-of-a-carton-in-my-junior-high-school-cafeteria
kind of laugh.
 
Seriously, this ad is a beast.
 
It is daring, innovative, and totally unlike anything else that has come out of this or any other campaign this season or maybe ever, at least since politics went TV. And it's right on target in terms of where McCain needs to hit Obama. Because the fact is, the only way McCain can beat this guy is if he can make us all believe that nothing new can happen. McCain can only win if he can convince us to be afraid again. And, if the primary was any indication, that is going to be really hard to do.
 
Obama's not "the messiah." Even his most ardent supporters don't think that. But a lot of us do think we've been on the wrong track for the past couple of decades and believe that, with a little elbow grease and a new guy at the wheel, we just might be able to get this freedom train moving again. 


Why?

Because we've seen it happen before – even if it was just in a movie or a song or a story our grandparents told us. We've seen slaves set free and "whites only" signs ripped down. We've seen women walking into voting booths and shuttling into outer space. We've seen people who were used to tossing their garbage out the car window while driving down the expressway (I'm not exaggerating here – ask anybody over 40) carefully sorting their cans and bottles into big blue tubs every Saturday morning. We've seen miracles happen, alright, of all types and all sizes. And we've seen them happen because of the dreams, the prayers, the sweat, the tears, and the blood of ordinary women and men. Barack Obama happens to remind some of us of some of them. But mostly, I think, he's helped us remember who weare – and who we think we should – and could – be. For a lot of us, Hillary has done exactly the same thing.

And nothing scares the McCain campaign more. 

So all they can do is poke fun and count on us being so embarrassed by our own sense of hope - I mean, what is more uncool than being all hopeful?!? - that we'll, well, just stop doing it. Their only chance of winning is if we decide to slink back to our self-absorbed, fear-filled, terror-ized lives —  allow ourselves to become consumed again with what "those" people (i.e., muslims, gays, people who kill babies, immigrants from anywhere except Europe (even Eastern Europe is ok because at least they're sort of white), the ACLU, moms on welfare, Hollywood stars, Al Gore and his stupid powerpoint slides, etc., etc., etc.) might be doing to screw up our lives and the world — and stop sending so much *#%& money over the internet to support the guy we think might help us make the difference. 

The McCain campaign's only hope is to take away ours.

Some of my friends are angry because of these ads. I want to tell them: Lighten up. Have the audacity to have a sense of humor. Comparing Barack Obama to Brittany Spears is, well, pretty freakin' funny. Besides, it's hard to feel hopeful if you're scowling.

And the last thing we need are more cynics running around. 


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