Forty Years, Forty Posts #33: An Explanation, and an Apology

First of all, there’s the cat problem. I selected as my author’s pic one where my shadow and constant companion, a 20-pound black cat named Torii, is chomping meaningfully on a few pages in my hand. When I described this photo to a publicity guru recently, she winced. She thought that since the cat had nothing to do with my book, it might only serve to turn off people who dislike cats. I’d hate to think that our pet preferences are so ingrained that we can’t believe a good book can possibly come out of a fellow who’s got a cat instead of a dog (and allow me to say here, that I actually quite like dogs as well). Ah, but I know well how fickle I can be, and how arbitrary my book non-buying decisions can be. For example, I have to grit my teeth and be especially resolved to buy a book by a known Yankees fan, but that’s what I have to do to enjoy the great books of a Paul Auster or a Don DeLillo. So perhaps Torii will scare off a few potential readers. I apologize to the dog people out there, and promise you might enjoy my books anyway.

Now I’ve blogged my ballot, after some personal deliberation, and decided that I will take my chances. This is a momentous election, and one which even a few years ago seemed unlikely. I am proud to be a part of it, and I think with a historical rather than a partisan eye, it needs to be part of the patchwork autobiography I have been assembling for the 40/40 project. It could be, for my generation, the Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt or Kennedy that other generations get (or got) to talk about. Besides being intelligent, thoughtful, and running an extraordinary campaign with grace and brilliance, Barack Obama may fulfill a promise that America made to itself in its charter documents, and for the first time bring a truly international face and perspective to the U.S. presidency.

I received an email recently from an old friend, a guy I knew in Brazil. I hadn’t heard from him in over 20 years.

Ok, Kurt. Election date is coming up… What about you. Are you for the Donkey or for the Elephant party? People here in Brazil are strongly cheering for Obama even though nothing may happen concerning the international politics between EUA [i.e., the USA] and Brazil.

I told him I usually vote for the donkeys, but was particularly excited to vote for this donkey.

I think McCain is a good man, too. If any candidate would have enticed me to cross party lines, it would have been McCain in 2000. But now I think there’s a more extraordinary opportunity, and one which the world is hoping we will take.

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