With all the chatter about The Bradley effect (I’d link her but there are just too many articles to choose from, and besides if you don’t know what it is by now than you must have your head up your ass, which begs the question: how the hell are you reading this anyway?) and now McCain’s pollsters claiming that the race is actually, much, much closer than the signs indicate, I wonder if perhaps there is something that is being missed.
An X effect. By which I mean a GenX effect.
Please allow me to attempt to explain, even though I’ll probably fuck it up anyway.
Recently I posted that I was pretty much burnt out on this election. And it was true. I just felt as if I couldn’t take it anymore, and only wanted it to be over. Since then I have been plagued by bad dreams. Seems like I am waking up just about every night between 4 and 5 am. At least it isn’t 3:15am every night (a prize to whomever guesses that reference — here’s a hint James Brolin NOT Ryan Reynolds). Sometimes they’re just surreal; I dream about Maureen McCormick/Marsha Brady, no doubt because I’ve been reading her trash memoir, but they’re not the teenage boy wet dream kind of dreams, but that’s for another post. Just as often, if not more, I dream about the election in some way. Usually I don’t remember specifics, just vague impression. But not last night. Last night I remembered my dreams pretty clearly: I’d watched elections results and Obama won, then I went to bed, and when I woke up later in the night and checked the news breaking news reported that he had been assassinated, killed, whatever… It really freaked me out, even after I realized it was just a dream, and I’ve been on edge ever since.
I’m not sure why I’m having these dreams. Perhaps just because the election is getting ever closer. But I can’t escape this anxiety, not just about Obama losing, for whatever reason, but about him winning. In some ways, that scares me even more. And not because I secretly believe that Obama is or was or will be one day a Muslim. That has nothing to do with it.
I really think it has more to do with him being a GenXer. (And I know, I know. I can already predict the self-important Boomer response, insisting that he is not. But that is such a losing argument, I don’t even know where to begin. So skip that shit.) Yeah, now that it looks as if Generation X might actually have it’s first president I’m having a hard time dealing with it. I’m having a hard to believing it is possible. Something got to go wrong. Something will fuck things up. I just know it. Thus serving the biggest collective disappointment to Generation X yet.
Believe me. I know how whiny that sounds. I do. But I can’t help suspecting that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
How do I feel exactly? It’s hard to explain, really. I know I’m not doing a very good job of it. But I feel like participating in this election, casting my vote for Obama, wanting him to win so badly, is dooming his campaign to failure. Yeah, how fucked up is that? As if my wants and desires and participation has shit to do with anything. And yet….
Recently a fellow GenXer expressed a similar kind of ennui, for lack of a better word. And as a result is considering NOT voting. I confess I’ve considered this myself. Just not voting.
And so I got to thinking. Could there be a significant number of GenXers afflicted with this vague sort of doubt? Could there be some kind of GenX effect at work? I realize that we are small generation, much smaller than Boomers and Millennials, but still just possibly big enough. Boomers vote, we know that. And I got to tell you I think the Millennials are going to really turn out on election day, if they haven’t already. I already know at least a few that have voted absentee. Remember, the young vote that didn’t turn out in previous election cycles was Generation X.
But maybe I’m just wigging here. I don’t know.
Perhaps it seems strange that what I’m talking about here is not complacency but rather — what? It almost feels like a fear of finally getting what you want, you know. A fear of success. Something like that anyway. Do other GenXers suffer from this sort of mind set? Maybe it’s just me.
In any case, it’s got me thinking that it is time to stop whining, and stop moping. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to run out and start knocking on doors for Obama. Believe me I am not the guy you want doing that anyway. But I can at least make sure that I cast my vote. And let it never be said that I didn’t do the least that I could, one of my mottos, I suppose.
I suppose it is rather ridiculous to take the possible results of this election so personally, as if Obama’s failure, if he were to be elected, as my own failures. And yet, I can’t help feeling as if I will in some way. He’ll be the first GenX president, and so in addition to carrying the hopes of many African Americans into the White House and before the world, he’ll be carrying the hopes of a generation, at least as far as I am concerned he will.