Sept. 10 2012 08:42 PM

The impact of going from Obama to the Kardashians in no time flat

Aaryn Belfer

I know that the echo chamber is crushing Barack Obama since last Friday's jobs report, but I spent the three nights before that watching the Democratic National Convention, and I am in love! Mostly with my DVR. Those commercials about gynecological cancers, walking aids, sexual dysfunction and incontinenc —they're insufferable. I ask you: Who needs to be constantly reminded that the average age of convention viewers is 12 standard deviations above that of the average Columbo viewer circa 1992? I'm sorry, old people. This is not about you; this is about me.

Anyway, back to that convention. Holy smokes! Forget Bubba and Barry for a sec. Awed by Sandra Fluke and Elizabeth Warren and the FLOTUS, this cynical woman had more come-to-Jesus moments than Chilean citizens engaged in porch-front chats with Mormon missionaries. Do you hear the angels singing on high? My vagina was so inspired that I might just stick a stylus in it and let it vote for itself come Election Day.

The Democrats were in rare form, which is to say, they were compelling and on point and finally took a stand. People: They grew a spine!

I shivered, I welled, I clapped alone in my living room. I nodded so forcefully that I pulled a muscle in my neck. And after it was all over, I felt very—strange. I felt overtly proud to be an American, which is sort of gross. Overt pride for one's country is just sort of obnoxious to me, unless it's expressed while rooting for a sports team, and even then it can test the realms of what's socially acceptable.

I am not a flag flier, or a Fourth of July devotee. I haven't said the Pledge of Allegiance since the fifth grade. I think it's disgusting that my calendar now designates a day as "Patriot Day." What does patriotism have to do with the attacks on Sept. 11, anyway? Being proud to be an American has never made much sense to me. The way I see it, I didn't do anything other than hit the geographic jackpot on the day of my birth. I could have been born in Afghanistan. Or Syria. Or Liberia.
Or Utah. Oh, wait—.

I was born in a country where people fought and died for voting rights that many of my fellow citizens today only exercise when watching reality television shows. That is to say nothing of certain other citizens who—while calling themselves patriots—work tirelessly to deny others their constitutional right to vote in actual elections. It's absurd.

And yet, I was proud last week! So proud that I printed that damned cute 2011 Christmas card of the Obama family, all holding hands, to hang up in my office. I'm aware that this is only one late-night 1-800 phone call away from owning the commemorative china set bearing Barack Obama's face.

I was so proud that I decided to send money to the campaign, even though I swore off campaign donations years ago, and even though I probably won't really send it because there's this awesomely deconstructed dress I've been eyeballing.

I was so proud that I decided that the American people are, by and large, not so dumb: they're savvy enough to grasp large concepts and understand things like nuance and reason; they're good enough, and smart enough, and doggone it people like them. Except for terrorists who hate them and their freedom.

Nevertheless, I felt good about the prospects for the future. I thought for a minute that Obama could actually win—and win handily—in November.

Then I grabbed the remote because the post-convention punditry was starting to grate. They were killing my buzz with their yakety-yak and their blah-dee-blah, and I'd had enough when Chris Matthews licked  pittle from his mouth as—during a serious-ish conversation about immigration—he asked his guests Rosario Dawson and America Ferrera whether all Latina women are as gorgeous as they are. Barf, yuck, ew, stop it Chris Matthews! You're delving into lascivious Piers Morgan territory. My pride was starting to wane.

Right then, I changed the channel quick before I decided once and for all that humans are just stupid enough to vote for blockhead Willard and that America—the country, not the actress—is, in fact, doomed.

And what did I find to stave off this worry? Well, not a whole lot, to be honest. I found the afterglow of Obama's moving speech didn't last long as I toggled between Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, about Southern belles trying to find the Perfect Wedding Dress, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, a show that should be subtitled, "What the Hell Has Happened to Bruce Jenner's Face?"

I probably don't need to say this, but I'm going to anyway: My confidence in my fellow Americans went south. I was not reassured that people are all that smart or savvy or graspy of nuance and reason.

From indecisive 24-year-old spray-tanned brides squeezing melon-sized breasts into crystal-dripped strapless mermaid dresses worth more than I earn in two months, to Mama Kardashian displaying on her granite kitchen countertops a slew of ornate flower arrangements for her children to select as decor for her eventual funeral—someday down the road when she dies, which I sort of doubt she ever will since she rolls with that cockroach-y kind of vibe—I was convinced within an hour that my vagina's voice is going to be silenced at the polls.

Email Aaryn Belfer. Aaryn blogs at and you can follow her on Twitter @aarynb.


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