Thursday, October 04, 2012

"Ode to An Empty Chair"

This is the blog I had rattling around in my head for about the last two weeks. It's the piece I sat down to write at least three or four times before it finally "came." It's a commentary I sent off to the Huffington Post on Monday and they posted up live today. And it is not only a very personal reflection on why this election is so important to me and to my family -- it is also something I am delighted ended up being timed to demonstrate that what matters about President Obama is not what he didn't do in one debate but what he DID do over the last four years. For people like me. And my wife. And my children. And the rest of the "47%" who choose hope over fear.

Ode to an Empty Chair

We are finally on the final countdown to Election Day, after what has arguably been the longest presidential campaign in the history of politics. And as the dust settles from all the primaries, polls, and party conventions, for me, one of the iconic moments of Campaign 2012 remains the image of Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair during the Republican National Convention, a convention that kept repeating the question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

The clip has been replayed over and over and over again in the weeks since the Republicans gathered in Tampa. But what I'm thinking about today is the moment I saw it "live" on a television with muted sound in the lobby of Keck Hospital at USC, where I sat for 12 hours while my partner Louise was in surgery. I remember saying to her brother Fred, "Is Clint Eastwood seriously up there talking to an empty chair?" as we tried to figure out what the deal was.

Of course, like the rest of America, I later found out that that was exactly what he was doing, attempting (evidently) to make the point that an empty chair represented the empty achievements of the Obama administration over the last four years. And so, in this final campaign countdown, I want to see Clint Eastwood's empty chair and raise him my experience. Am I better off than I was four years ago? Let me count the ways.

Read the rest here.

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