I was recently fortunate enough to travel to Tanzania with my family. Our first morning there, we were loading our bags into a Jeep when a man on the sidewalk took one look, sized us up as Americans and yelled "Obama!" with a thumb up and a smile. How he knew we were from the United States is beyond me. Not since the late '90s has my family worn our matching American flag bandanas and sweatpants when traveling. Plus, only two of us were actively eating Big Macs, so his assessment was quite astute. More intriguing, though, was the fact that halfway around the world, this man would see Americans and feel compelled to shout Barack Obama's name.
Throughout the trip, I continued to meet people, mostly English and French, who liked the candidate and wanted to discuss him. Anyone who has traveled internationally over the past eight years can tell you how rare such a civilized discussion is. Usually, you just get a bunch of fuck-Bush, fuck-America rhetoric spewed at you from behind hideous teeth, and then you have to try to explain why your country is ruining the world. Hearing hopeful talk about Obama was absolutely flooring. I knew then that this was the man I was going to support for the Democratic nomination.
But my method of support generally consists of not mocking people, so I returned to the U.S. vowing simply never to discuss Obama's ears. Then a friend of mine named Robocop 4 called and convinced me to become a precinct captain, and next thing I knew I had made dozens of phone calls urging people to show support for Obama. And then it was caucus night, February 5, and I was inside Fairmont Elementary School with a bunch of stickers, and because no one knew what the fuck was going on and I was the one standing there with stickers, they chose to yell at me.
"Where are the voting machines? I want to cast my ballot!" an old Mexican woman barked at me.
"Ma'am, this is a caucus — there are no machines. You have to..."
"Why are you wearing an Obama sticker? Where did you get that sticker?"
"Because I'm a precinct captain for his campaign," I told her. "Do you want a sticker?"
"What did Obama ever do for Mexicans?" she yelled.
I quickly riffled the Obama talking-points manual I'd been given, but couldn't find the What-Did-Obama-Ever-Do-for-Mexicans section in time. The woman vanished into the massive crowd, leaving a faint whiff of mothballs and crazy. Somehow, everyone figured out which precinct they were in and split off into groups — then didn't know what to do next. But precinct captain Cayton-Holland saved the day and explained to everyone how to caucus (and by precinct captain Cayton-Holland, yes, I do mean my sister Anna, and thanks for asking!) And then Obama won Colorado and a whole bunch of delegates, and as primaries and caucuses continued to take place across the country, it became apparent that the race between Obama and Hillary Clinton was getting too close to call, and that instead of the people determining through those primaries and caucuses who they wanted to be the Democratic presidential candidate, that role would actually be reserved for people called superdelegates, who are like delegates except they wear capes and aren't really delegates at all but longtime party members, cronies and insiders who can vote for whoever the fuck they want.
Not so optimistic now, are you, wacky Tanzanian man?
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And that's not even the worst part of it: I was lying about the capes!
But never fear, America. Nay, never fear, world! I am officially putting my hat into the ring. Read my lips, Democratic National Committee: Make me a superdelegate! Tear down this wall, DNC, and allow my supervoice to be heard! I know I haven't been involved in politics long, but maybe that's the type of person this party needs. Plus, I've voted Democratic in the two presidential elections in which I've been able to vote, and both candidates lost. The way I see it, you owe me this, DNC. Otherwise, people like me are going to become disillusioned and stop voting altogether. If we let the fate of our candidate be determined by old farts who don't care how their constituents feel but just care which candidate will further their own selfish cause, then the terrorists have truly won. Appoint Cayton-Holland superdelegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and you can be sure that our voices will be heard. And not only do I promise to show up in a cape, but also in my old American flag sweatpants!
Sí, se puede, DNC. Sí, se puede.