A Relevant Story
Eleven years ago I moved into an historic little house downtown. The area was then a middlin-high crime area, so I took occupancy with trepidation. About a year after moving in, I was going to sleep around midnight when I heard the empty cans I had in a low box outside clunking against each other. Then I heard someone turning the doorknob to my kitchen door back and forth. I realized I had a prowler!
I called the cops immediately.
By the time they got there I was hearing the slithery, then cracking, sound of someone applying a pry bar to the back door. A minute or so later the cops drove up with their lights out and sirens off, and went back into my small yard. I heard yelling, and a scuffling sound, and soon the cops emerged at the front of the house, frogmarching a young guy in handcuffs. They were rough as they stuffed him in the back seat of the police car. I enjoyed seeing that.
Both of the cops were large men, taller and in much better shape than me. They looked like recently-retired, slightly-deteriorated athletes. I am a short guy who has always been overweight, and so never played any sports when I was a child. Probably for that reason, I have always disliked, and sometimes even hated, big, athletic men. But when those two beefy guys drove up, I was never gladder to see anyone in my life. And I loved the ease with which they subdued that prowler!
Again, as in 2004 when Bush was re-elected, the American people were scared during the election just past. But, unlike last time, we were scared of something almost none of us could pretend to understand. Economics has been called “the dismal science”. It is boring and very hard. It takes a very determined and smart man to understand it. And here, in Obama, was a man who was calm and resolute, and who, above all, was obviously THE smartest of all the candidates who appeared before us during the long election season.
Lots of Americans don’t normally like intellectuals — for exactly the same reason I detest athletes. I call this phenomenon “cross-bell curve resentment”. But, as my little brush with crime taught me, when you desperately need the abilities of folks on the other side of a bell curve from you, those folks suddenly become as welcome as your long-lost best friend!
And that’s why Barack Obama was elected.
Update: Every once in a while some media person who is paid big money to do what I do for free agrees with one of my points. I am of course delighted. Please see this: