Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Obama Fantasy

Having been one of those people who cried salty tears of hope and deliverance while watching Obama's Philadelphia speech on race, I'm ready to admit that I'm not immune to falling into the velvety soft, tempting trap of The Obama Fantasy. It's the well-manufactured fantasy that Obama is different. That he will bring real change to our political process, and to our government.

But in my defense, if you read any of my posts during this time, I still maintained a healthy skepticism. This is because I've had personal experience of what some people would call the "realities" of politics. I would describe it differently, as the "dishonesty," the "falseness," and the "bullshit" of politics. Those who think it's just fine and dandy that politics is so false and frankly, corrupt, would brand me as naive.

For instance, I have a friend who had a long-term successful career as a Republican politician. At the time this person was first running for office, my boyfriend was a jeweler. He made a special gold cross for this person, that could be worn as a symbol to attract the Mormon and other Christian right voters in this politician's district. The cross, of course, was a private haha joke. Because it was engraved on the back with pagan symbols such as stars and moons, maybe even a skull. I can't remember. For a brief time in the 80's I attended what I came to call Hollywood Buddhism meetings with this very same person, both of us chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and then listening to wannabe starlets and script writers chant for a job at the studios or maybe even a new Hummer.

That turned out to be a joke too. But me and religion, no matter what package it came in, have never been on the best of terms.

This same representative got into politics and specifically became a Republican because of the business and government contacts they could make. There was no drive to help mankind, no higher goal that I could see. Politics was simply an effective way to gain power, status and money through networking. To be fair, I think this person eventually began to care about what they were doing, but I also saw an envelope thick with 100 dollar bills and listened to funny haha stories of telling people they were signing a petition for one thing when they were actually signing a petition for something quite different. Here, just sign right there. Thank you!

This person is long out of office and their shenanigans long past the statute of limitations. However, my healthy cynicism about the "reality" of politics was engendered from these experiences.

I wanted to think differently about Obama. I really did. But as we can see with his trapeze swing away from Progressive policy and into the snake oil trap of The Middle Way, Obama is just another politician. From what I've been reading, and not anything written by Hillary supporters, Obama really doesn't have a history of acting or voting as a Progressive. If I'd done some research, I would have known that. And that, my friends, is simply the "reality."

I've been watching the media brush off We The People who pushed Obama past Hillary to garner his lead in the primaries, and call us "pissed off Hillary supporters" or "a few disgruntled Progressives." This is simply untrue. I never supported Hillary. Ever. I would have been delighted to have a woman president, but she wasn't the woman. And We The Disappointed are not "just a few" disgruntled Progressives, we're a shitload of disgruntled Progressives.

Be that as it may, I need to get to the point of my story...the dangerous fantasy that Obama is simply moving to the center because he's a smart politician and he knows that he has to pander to gain the votes of the undecided. And then, when he gets into office, he'll miraculously shift back to the left and laugh at all those foolish People Of The Middle Way, and end the war and all that nice stuff that we vaguely hope he'll just do so we can go back to playing Nintendo and standing in line for the next iPhone.

For someone who could rise above the silly chit chat and pundit-driven non issues of race and inspire us all to see a bigger and better way, he sure as hell hasn't been able to rise above politics as usual and actually be a leader, rather than a panderer and cowerer and follower. I may be a fool, but I think that Obama could stand up and make a stirring speech, just like in Philadelphia, and declare that no civilized nation of peoples should ever assume the right to kill human beings who have been convicted of a crime. Death as punishment for a crime, no matter how heinous the crime, in this day and age, should be eradicated. He could say that the death penalty is an abomination, and in effect, blasphemy, because in carrying out the act, we are playing at being God. Instead, Obama panders to the blood thirsty ignorance of the slavering crowd around the gallows, and tosses them the hanging rope. He leaves it up to fallible men to make sure that the "right guy" gets hung. How's that worked for human kind so far, Barack?

And if you think that Obama is going to end the Iraq war, steer America's psychology away from oil lust and imperialism and war profiteering towards peaceful global cooperation, then read this, and think again.


Richard said...

Lisa, I read the links about endless war and also watched some of Obama'a speech. It seems he is making a logical and thoughtful argument against negligent use of military power.

I know this doesn't satisfy the left, but is it not many times better than the alternative?

Let's not lose sight of the fact that the current administration's policies and actions are ruining our country.

Wouldn't you agree the Dems deserve a chance to right the ship of state? (Or at least start turning it to a more productive course)

I am going to withhold my displeasure with Obama's lack of purity till he has the chance to be our president and show what he's made of.

We gave a bumbling idiot 8 years in office; can't we give this guy a shot as well?

Love you girl,


OMYWORD! said...

Hi Rich! You are very sweet and I am always glad to read your comments. And yes, I will vote for Obama, because it is a seriously dangerous thing to vote for McCain. And I won't get distracted by third parties that don't have a prayer, as that could also help McCain. I considered not voting at all, but that could help McCain too. So.......I will be voting for Obama, bitching all the way to the mailbox with my mail-in ballot. :-)

Tony said...

Thank you, Lisa, for a nice post and a nod to the realism of an Obama administration. I have said from the beginning that there are less differences between the two parties than at almost any other time in history. The two party system is bringing down the United States and not allowing those that could possibly make a real difference to have a chance at making President. I have always always maintained that no matter what a candidate says during their campaign the reality of their true position and office will become clearly defined by those that really pull the strings and run the government very quickly after they take the oath of office. In other words, the President is really primarily a figurehead and a scapegoat for the shadow government that is never elected but yet maintains true power no matter which party "wins" the office. How's *that* for a conspiracy theory? (big grins)

Kevin said...

Interesting post. I honestly have not seen a major shift to the "center" for Obama. He has talked about uniting both parties for as long as I have seen him speak. He has talked about being as non-partisan as possible, bringing together all walks of life to bring change to this country. He is and has indeed been doing that.

The same with the war in Iraq. He has never proclaimed to be "anti-war" and in fact, in his speech against the Iraq war he proclaimed he is not Anti-war, but against stupid wars. This is a great post and very well written by the way. :)

I am glad to see you will still be voting for him, and bitch away, you have your freedom of speech for a reason! You also bring up some great points for some people to think about and there is nothing wrong with that, even if I myself do not completely agree.

Thanks again for the great post!


OMYWORD! said...

Tony! I like the multi-party system here in France. It was interesting to watch how it works when Sarkozy was elected. All the presidential candidates from multiple parties (I think there were like..9!) ran in the first round. Then the two candidates that garnered the most votes (Sarkozy and Segoline Royal) ran against each other. Other parties are very strong here. The communist party is huge! I went to their annual 3-day festival and every city in France was represented by a booth, with a bar and restaurant selling their region's food and wine. All parties have local representatives in office, so they aren't fringe.

As far as your shadow govt idea, I don't think it's that far from the truth. I mean, our current administration is actually run by Cheney. Bush is just a mouthpiece...and a goofy one at that.

OMYWORD! said...

Kevin - I think you might be right about Obama's shift not really being a shift at all. I wanted Kucinich as President, so you can see that I "settled" grumpily for Obama, and then, like when you meet somebody in a bar and you ignore all the facts and paint your starry-eyed vision on them of who you WANT them to be, get disappointed somewhere along the way. I wanted Obama to address the issues as Kucinich did. But Obama didn't early in the game, and isn't going to do that now.

He's better than McCain by about 50,000 miles, but the thrill is gone, you know? ;-)

Mauigirl said...

I think a lot of us are in this place. I still really do support Obama but I am very realistic about his limitations and see that he is no Kucinich. When they used to have those quizzes you could take to see how your beliefs on the issues lined up vs. the candidates, mine always matched Kucinich and Dodd; both Obama and Hillary were down a ways on the list.