That's what 2008 is in the Chinese zodiac -- the Year of the Rat. Encouraging , isn't it?
Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiac, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat's natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust.
Behind the smiles and charm, rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling, insisting on having things their way no matter what the cost. These people tend to have immense control of their emotions, which they may use as a tool to manipulate and exploit others, both emotionally and mentally. Rats are masters of mind games and can be very dangerous, calculative and downright cruel if the need arises. Quick-tempered and aggressive, they will not think twice about exacting revenge on those that hurt them in any way. Rats need to learn to relax sometimes, as they can be quite obsessed with detail, intolerant and strict, demanding order, obedience, and perfection.
I have a deep down bad feeling. Watching the Democratic Convention on its final night – I hate to admit it, but the Nuremberg rallies of 1934 were flashing before my eyes. Charismatics scare me, be they religious or political. Mostly, charismatic leaders bring us to grief, whether it's Hitler, Napoleon, Lenin, Mohamed or even Jesus. I'm a Christian, but looking at it objectively, Jesus brought a world of pain to himself and those who followed after him. Barak Obama is not a celebrity. He's not a "rock star." He's a charismatic, and it scares me.
There's a part of me that likes him, and there's a part of me that is proud of my country that the promise of "all men are created equal" is embodied in the young black man accepting the nomination of the Democratic Party for the presidency of the United States. I disagree with almost all of his positions, but still, that's kind of cool. I lived through the civil rights movement in the Old South, and I deeply believe that no one should face hatred and discrimination because of the pigment of their skin or because their last name sounds strange. So, I am pound of America, and of citizen Obama for what he has been able to accomplish in his life. But, he worries me. I see 80,000 people jammed into Mile High Stadium to pay homage to the new messiah, and it worries me.
I feel the swing of history's great pendulum. I have felt it before. I felt it when it swung from Johnson to Nixon. I felt it when it swung from Carter to Reagan. I felt it when it swung from Bush to Clinton, and I'm feeling it again.
What do the Republicans have to offer as a counter? A septuagenarian fighter jock that they don't even like. And what do the Republicans have to run on? Eight years of questionable leadership, fiscal irresponsibility, an ailing economy, two wars, one of which appears to be based on a mistake. I feel the great swing of the pendulum.
I don't like charismatics.
Yes, Barak, this is a defining moment, and yes, you are riding the crest of that wave. And yes, most likely, you will be our next president. That doesn't mean that what is happening tonight in Mile High Stadium is healthy.
But I have to hand it to you -- it was a hell of a show. The trouble is that I don't like charismatics. I don't like altars built to false gods. I don't like Nazi soldiers lined up as far as the eye can see. I don't like Waterloo. I don't like Calvary. I don’t like Red Square. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I don't need to do that again.
I go out under the night sky. I sit with one of my dogs and think about the Year of the Rat. "This is your pilot speaking. Fasten your seat belts. We're heading into some turbulence."