Whether you think Obamania is a farce or a great marketing campaign designed by corporate interests, the truth is he is becoming a phenomenon. Regardless of how this election turns out he has changed the face of the electorate and what we thought we knew about it. The only question is if he is not elected what will he do with it? Many have tried to compare this movement with the Jesse Jackson movements of the 80’s, this effort is intrinsically different for a number of reasons. The “Rainbow Coalition” was built on outreach to black churches, grass-root efforts to social groups, and was primarily black oriented. Despite winning 13 primaries in 1988, Jesse Jackson was never a viable candidate. He represented the frustration of many voters with the excesses of the Reagan years and a weakened slate of Democratic candidates. In the end Mr. Jackson’s desire for self-enrichment won out over his interest for his fellow black Americans.
Barack Obama cannot be called the black candidate reaching out to whites. If anything he was originally perceived as the “white” candidate reaching out to blacks. There were questions about his focus on black issues, on his heritage, and his supporters. Many of those questions were answered in South Carolina as he beat the field by a resounding margin. Each day the phenomenon is growing with those who were fence sitters summoning up the courage to hope and to dream. It is sad that we have become so cynical that many of us were too afraid and too skeptical to hear the message he was bringing. Whether you believe in his message or not, it is becoming harder and harder to resist it. Why is it becoming so hard to resist? It is simple really, if you come out against hope what are you promoting?
All the more Republicans need to unravel Obama’s hope line until there is no string left. In the months ahead, real thinkers will discover time and again Republicans calling Obama on his junior high speech class deliveries. Renew America
These are the same voices that heralded Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” as a call for change and hope. The truth is becoming clearer; the problem is not Obama, it is that he has the audacity to offer hope. The sad thing is that the more he offers hope the more he is attacked because of it. Whether you believe in the message or not, one has to be concerned with the tenor of dissent. How dare you people have hope that things can change. I personally believe that change will come but as the opposition is proving it will not be easy. I am not sure that the message of hope will be enough, but I’ll be damned if I will say it is crazy to have hope or that he is offering false hope. If we take hope from the world, what are we left with? And who would want to live in a world without it? I know I don’t.
Barack Obama is asking Americans to dream of an America that never was and may never be, but that with hope anything is possible. What is so bad about that message? There are two ways to change things and Democratic voters are being offered both options. The first is as Hillary Clinton says by attacking the system from within, by using her years of experience to gradually tilt the system toward average Americans. How many politicians have offered to change the system from within? The second as Barack Obama says is to change the whole system from top to bottom. Change how we do the changing. He wants to throw out the old models and lines of division and create a true ruling majority that reaches across race, party, and gender.
The thing that bothers me is that in order to combat a campaign of hope what does the opposition have to offer in its place? The response so far has been to offer cynicism, dismissal, and condescension. He is too naïve to understand how things work, he doesn’t have the necessary experience, or my favorite is hope will never work. Are we as a nation so stuck in our little categories that we can never rise above them? Are there not things about America and its ideals that we can rally behind or are we permanently locked into this death dance pitting one against the other? Many people believe that we are and that our only hope is to beat each other into submission. I don’t believe that and from what I have seen there are millions of other Americans who feel the same.
There is a mystic quality that surrounds this movement being led by Obama and it is palpable at his events. He was recently in Kansas City and there was a feeling among the people that I have never felt at a political event. It was like people who had been trapped in a tunnel or a mine coming to the surface and being able to take in the light and air again. The winds are blowing across America and the cynics and old standards can belittle it and criticize it, but how do you stop hope? How do you stop people from believing in themselves and the future? The thing that strikes me most about Obamania is its constant call not to raise Obama, but to raise the people. Unlike Hillary he doesn’t say I can fight and win, he says we can fight and win as a people, as a nation. Instead of fear and division there was hope and calm. There is excitement in the air, but not like an impulsive restlessness. It is more like a feeling of expectancy of good things to come.
There is a feeling that if we choose our best days is not behind us, but ahead of us. Is that true? I don’t know, but it’s like telling my kid he can’t be an astronaut I won’t be the one to burst his bubble. If America wants to believe that we can change and rise above all those things that have held us down for centuries, who am I to say that we can’t? Who are you?
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and unrealistic – John F. Kennedy