21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine: Politics USA:

Dispatch from McCain country
Obama elected president; crowd indifferent
Derek Pfeffer

Tucson—Putney’s Sports Bar. 7:00 p.m. The Phoenix-Calgary game is playing on two of the television sets. SportsCenter is on half of them. And on the three remaining TVs is FoxNews’s coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election. The crowd looks on with nervous hope. Word comes that McCain lost New Hampshire, and a man at one of the tables says he just lost a hundred bucks.

A man in a baseball hat and a woman wearing an engagement ring sit down at the bar and the man orders two beers. "I’m here for the election party," he says. The woman asks for a cup full of limes.
The bartender starts to say something about Obama, then hesitates, but the man in the hat reassures him: "Don’t worry. We voted for McCain."
Then he jokes, "Well, she was going to vote for Obama, but…"
They laugh. This is McCain country, after all—Tucson, Arizona. I’ve been here five days and I’ve already heard the whispers.
"All they have against McCain is that he’s old."
"I like that Sarah Palin. I think she’s strong enough to be President."
"She knew her son had Down Syndrome, and she kept him anyway. I admire that."
"Obama… I think he’s a Muslim!"
"I do too!"

Things turn grim on the TV set: 200 electoral votes for Obama, 81 for McCain. Then 207 to 135, and there’s hope. But before long the death blow is struck: 297 electoral votes for Obama. "So that’s it," I say to the man sitting next to me. "Obama wins."
"No, I think he needs 300," he says.
But then Fox shows the mob in Chicago and the big letters come: "Obama elected President."
"Well, yeah, I guess that’s it," says my friend. "Oh well."
"I feel bad for McCain," I say. "He’s a good guy. He just ran at the wrong time."
"Well, he should’ve won [the Republican primary in 2000," says my friend. "Now’s not the year for Republicans. All the Democrats had to do was not put an ape in there, and they had it locked up."
I nod. It’s true. Bush screwed up bad, and the country knows it. Arizona knows it. The last numbers I see on the screen for Arizona are 54% McCain, 45% Obama—not that it matters. McCain’s goose is cooked. The Maverick’s run is over. Obama elected President.

And to be honest with you, no one seems to care. Someone pops a quarter in the jukebox and Kid Rock comes on. People laugh and drink and shoot pool. A waitress pounds a shot of Jagermeister and complains about a final she has to take tomorrow in nursing school. My friend points to Palin on the TV screen and says, "Well, at least she’s got a career in porn to look forward to."

I listen to McCain’s concession speech and I want to cry. This is a historic event, he says. Support Obama, he says. It looks like he wants to cry, too.
I feel bad for him. He’s a good man. This is just the wrong time for him and his kind. Obama wins. Obama elected President. Another beer, please.

© Derek Pfeffer Nov 7th 2008

Derek is a freelance journalist in the USA

More Comment


© Hackwriters 1999-2008 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.