Here is a word that’s been thrown around a lot in my world lately. It may surprise you to hear this friends, but I’ve been a bit cynical about the whole “hope” thing. In better moments, I’ve tried to attribute this to the rough summer, weather changing, less sunlight, Seasonal Affective Disorder etc. Whatever.
Now friends, I know a LOT of people who “drank the Obama kool-aid” (as the republican View girl from SNL says). I tried not to visibly show annoyance when people started echoing empty shouts of “change” and “hope” inspired by nothing more than the fact that the man is a good speech-maker. And I do concede that he is indeed a powerful speech-maker. I privately rolled my eyes and had surreptitious conversations with most of my friends and (like-minded) family members about the fact that his speeches were powerful but somewhat empty. We discussed downfalls of the Obama candidacy and how he doesn’t come near anything resembling the liberal icon that Americans are now identifying with. We always end up back at the same place. We know we have to vote Obama because even though he is a neo-con, he is most definitely the lesser of the two evils.
I hit a new low last weekend when one of my favorite people in the whole huge wide world told me that she felt hope for the first time in a long time because of Barack Obama. Granted, I think all of my friends are brilliant, but Luckybuzz? She is in a class of her own. I could gushingly offer evidence of her brilliance but for the sake of the post, let’s just say she has never even sipped on kool-aid in her life. And she feels hope. Because of Barack Obama. I was scared friends. Scared and angry and wanting to beat the shit out of the democratic candidate for president for putting a person who lives in my heart in a place where she could be hurt or disappointed by his imminent failure. That feeling turned into a deep sadness when I realized that it’s not Obama’s fault and that he will probably be as broken as everyone else.
(Don’t misunderstand me friends. I REALLY want to be wrong about this. And if I am wrong, I vow to you here and now that I will be his most vocal supporter. (I mean Im already voting for him, so cut me a little slack ok?) Maybe I will even quit my job and dedicate myself to getting him re-elected in 2012. Who knows? )
But this morning, thanks to another (personal favorite) esteemed blogger I got a different perspective about the whole situation. It occurred to me after reading his post that it doesn’t matter how the whole Obama thing pans out really. (well it kinda does.) No matter what happens, nobody is going to be able to take away the hope people are feeling today. Nobody will be able to take away the new found empowerment people are experiencing. Nobody can change that for the first time in many years, disillusioned people are starting to feel proud to be an American. And the more I think about this, the more hopeful I am getting. Because more registered voters will be participating in this election than have done so in an entire century. People who felt powerless are starting to believe that they can make significant changes on a governmental level. And maybe it isn’t really relevant if they are hitched to a slightly faulty pony on this one. Maybe what matters is that people will see an Obama win as their own success and feel empowered enough to actually start learning about issues and taking steps to make a difference locally. Maybe this truly is the dawn of a brand new time of hope after all.
Oh come on friends. I never said I didn’t like kool-aid!