America is frighteningly close. The presidential election is only a few weeks away and Obama is still ahead in the polls. McCain looks old and irrelevant, and he's desperate enough to attempt to make any charge stick against his rival, however ludicrous, however scurrilous. And to the credit of the American public, his barrel-scraping tactics these past few weeks seem to have caused enough distaste to turn swing voters towards Obama.
He encouraged the racist groundswell against Obama by peppering his references to his rival with the word "terrorist". And his featherweight running mate followed suit. They were referring to an old association Obama himself had denounced long ago, not directly to Obama. It was obvious. however, that they hoped the man and the word would become conjoined in the public consciousness; and among less discerning Republicans it worked. Ironically, how stumbling and weak McCain looked having to redirect supporters at his own rallies when they stood up and verbalised the ideas he and Palin had implanted in their minds. Don't say it, stupid,just keep it in mind on polling day.
The whole world wants Obama to become president because the whole world wants to believe in the American vision, as articulated by the Founding Fathers and poeticised by Walt Whitman. We want to believe that America leads the way in liberty, morality, decency, community. For God's sake, somebody has got to. But it has become impossible to think America even strives to lead the world in anything other than military muscle since the inarticulate, duplicitous and plain nasty Bush administration seized control in 2001 (via, remember, means of electoral fraud). Obama may not be able to deliver on even half of his promises, but for me it's enough that he actually wants to. That he cares what the rest of the world thinks. That he wants to restore America's covenant with the world, and give his country meaning again.
If something unexpected happens between now and November and McCain snatches the election, I'm digging myself a hole in the ground and living out the rest of my days in an air raid shelter.