Let me begin by thanking Kelis for that rather catchy anthem. You didn’t have to whoop bro’ like that in the video, but I ain’t made atcha.
Last night, somewhere between “That one” and the handshake that wasn’t, I realized that John McCain is one hostile dude. Actually, I already knew it, but he had done a fair to middlin’ job of hiding it, so when that hate percolated its way to the top, it was actually a bit of a surprise.
But the Junior Senator from Illinois didn’t even let a frown touch his face. I mean, the Old Guy just demeaned you on national television, and you just sit there looking content. Shaft was not even that cool.
I’ve been talked about a few times in my life, sometimes even to my face. There is no overstating the impulse to slap the taste out of somebody’s mouth, and in general, the only thing that held me back was the fact that my employment would probably end shortly after the backhand. So after months of some of the most demeaning and vitriolic comments ever directed at a human being, especially one who’s running for President of these supposedly United States of America, how can The Black Man Who Would Be President stand there, poised beyond measure, and listen to something so blatantly condescending?
It’s because he knows. He knows what Muhammed Ali knew in the seventh round against George Foremen. He knows what Michael Jordan knew when he stole the ball from Karl Malone. He knows what Tiger Woods knows when he sees his name at the top of a Major’s leaderboard at the end of the third round. And he knows what Usain Bolt knew as soon as the starter pulled the trigger.
“I got you.”
I like the way Big Man puts it:
Slowly, but surely he is cutting off John McCain’s wind. He doesn’t rush, he doesn’t falter. No matter which way McCain ducks and dodges, Obama pursues him, his mouth filled with a confident smirk. It’s similar to the hungry grin wolves give their prey before they go down the gullet.
You see, Ali already knew Foreman wouldn’t make it to the next bell; Jordan’s game-winning jumper was just an afterthought– all you had to do was look at Malone’s face when that ball got swiped; Tiger knows that no other golfer is capable of withstanding the relentless pressure that comes with having to tee off next to him; and Usain has no opponents, period.
But just winning is not enough. In Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” our protagonist makes it clear that true revenge requires that the victim not only knows exactly who is getting revenge, but neither the victim nor anyone else can do anything about it. Let’s face it– most Black men just don’t get to visit that place. And for John McCain (and Hillary Clinton before him), that reality has sucked out his very soul.
McCain can’t even look at him, but Obama can stare him down all across the stage. McCain won’t even shake his hand, but that’s okay, because by the time Brokaw told him to move out of his camera shot, it was all over but the cryin’.
Unfortunately for McCain, I doubt Kelis’s little ditty is available on 8-track, so he may not be able to hear it for himself. But oh, how appropriate it would be as he sits on one of his porches with his space cadet of a wife, stuck in “I could have been,” to have that little ode to acrimony blasting incessantly in his good ear.