Something unexpected happened today when I went into the voting booth. After spending the better part of a year writing about my support for Obama, contributing money to his campaign, and telling every pollster who asked that I was voting for Obama, when I found myself in the privacy of the voting booth today, I just couldn't do it. I couldn't pull the lever for him. It was like an invisible force guided my hand from my intended selection - the charismatic young Illinois Democrat - to my unintended choice - the cantankerous old bastard from Arizona. I don't know how it happened. One minute I was part of a youth revolution, the next minute I was on the phone celebrating with my tax attorney.
I voted for McCain.
How did this happen? Maybe it's true what the pundits have been saying for months. Maybe there are certain white people who, when confronted with the choice of actually voting for a black man, will be unable to do so. How was I supposed to know that I was one of those people?
None of the warning signs were there. Throughout the entire campaign, not once did I find myself referring to Barack Obama as either a Muslim or a socialist. I almost never accused him of being a terrorist. And I never talked about his race at all. Admittedly I did once privately comment that he seemed like a really good basketball player, but I immediately felt horrible about it.
Yes, it's true that in my act I always called Obama "the black guy," but that was for comedy purposes. It was meant to be a hip way of saying "I'm down," but now I think my sub-conscious was telling me a different story - a story I simply didn't want to hear. Because it was a story written in ebonics.
If only I had known what a racist I was when this campaign started, I could have saved myself a lot of embarrassment. Maybe I should have known. After all, of all the places in the world to raise my family, where did I choose? Connecticut. And what did I name my son? David Duke. I just thought those two names sounded good together, dismissing the fact that a prominent white supremacist also had that name as coincidence. Yes, we bought my daughter dolls of different races, but I found myself encouraging her to make her black doll "the maid." I didn't think anything of it at the time, but now I wonder whether even something as innocent as that indicates some kind of latent racism? Maybe.
My whole life I've always prided myself on being an open-minded liberal kind of guy. For example, when I was a kid watching "Diff'rent Strokes," I was never one of those people who thought Willis was trouble, even after it turned out years later that he was trouble! And when crack was big in the 80's, I used to say "It's a tragedy for everybody." And when Oprah picked Toni Morrison's "Beloved," for her book club, I bought it (didn't read it, but bought it). So believe me when I say that my actions today are just as shocking to me as they probably are to you.
As I write this, I do not yet know who the won the presidency. Both of the candidates are good men. Honest men. Men of integrity and character. One of those men has a clear vision for how to take this country in a new direction, to restore our image in the world, to end the war in Iraq and put our economy back on solid footing. One of these men has inspired millions of new voters to participate in politics for the first time, and to believe that America can once again be a better nation, a nation of hope instead of fear. But fuck it - I voted for the white guy.