Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More on Obama 2.0

"Regular blogging" (whatever that is) will recommence soon (or whenever my other brain gets back from the shop). In the meantime, please read this quick piece by David Sirota. It's about the election, and stuff.

Aw hell, let me just quote Sirota quoting Sirota:

"[Obama]'s like any politician. He's cautious," Sirota said. "He's a potential vehicle for change, and I think he is a good vehicle, but he is just a vehicle."

His presidency may represent fundamental change, but that doesn't mean he will initiate such sweeping changes if he's elected.

"Politicians, even the best-intentioned ones, are weather vanes," Sirota said. "If the wind isn't blowing in the right direction, they will perpetuate the status quo."

It will take more than a presidential candidate to change the status quo; it'll take a movement, Sirota says.

"My concern is that people will think that by simply electing Obama, change will come, whether it's on race or economic justice issues," he said.

"If people believe that, then real change will not happen."


As I was reading through the angry responses to Obama's statement on FISA yesterday -- many of which were explicit rejections of the Obama candidacy by disaffected former supporters -- it occurred to me that, combined with the fact that (even after the last week) McCain is not getting laughed off the national stage for some of the idiotic things he's saying, Democrats may actually manage to lose this fucking election.

Wouldn't that be something? I would have thought that we had witnessed the full monty of stupidity in this country by electing Bush twice (I know, I know, he wasn't really elected, but it still astonishes me that those elections were even close). But if McCain hangs in there and pulls this shit off, well, we ain't seen nothin' yet.

One of the comments on the FISA thing (don't remember exactly where I read it, alas) said something to the effect that: "Damn! If Russ Feingold were our nominee, all this moving-to-the-center stuff wouldn't be happening!"

Bullshit. I love Russ Feingold as much as the next progressive, but come on! First of all, we did have a candidate who had a Feingoldian cut to his jib. His name was Dennis Kucinich. He didn't make it. Why didn't he make it? Because this is not a progressive country.

Would that it were. And would that it were a country in which more than 2% of the population actually had a love for jazz (or anything beyond the pablum peddled by the major labels). Maybe someday it will be both of those things (hurray, activism! hurray, advocacy! hurray, education!). But right now it ain't.

Secondly, Ghandi himself could not negotiate his way through our broken election system without having to occasionally talk out of both sides of his mouth. Sure, the problem is exacerbated by the politicians themselves, and sure, systems are made of people, and people have free will and can act differently if they so choose. But there are simultaneously other forces at work too: big, bad forces. Inertia forces. Id forces. Zeitgeist forces. Irrational, cultural forces. Technological forces (I'm looking at you, media!).

That system needs to be fixed, and those forces need to be altered, but such things are not going to happen simply by electing a certain president -- though of course it does matter who we elect to that job. (Complicated, eh?)

I repeat and paraphrase: if we screw this one up, the horror has just begun. Please, fellow lefties, I beg of you:


Anonymous said...

Nobody's ever accused me of being a cock-eyed optimist (with good reason), but, come on, even I can see that unless the cops find a stash of children's skeletons in Obama's basement, he ain't gonna lose. Try to enjoy it. Anyway, I'll admit that I didn't look at the stuff on his website, but I imagine that some of it is just meant to send him a message, which isn't the worst idea in the world.

Andrew Durkin... said...

he ain't gonna lose.

Logic would suggest that you are, in fact, right. But when was the last time that logic obtained in our national politics?

Also, just to clarify: I have no problem with critiquing the guy, holding him to account, etc. As I said in my previous Obama 2.0 post, I never bought into the hero-worship vibe that surrounded him through much of the primaries. What is equally annoying to me, though, is when folks go to the other extreme. It's like the presidential politics version of the virgin/whore mentality, and it betrays a political naivete that I find frustrating, especially coming from fellow progressives.

Thanks for your comment!