I didn't watch Barack Obama's entire speech at the DNC last night, but what I saw gave me some hope.
Admittedly, I am pretty disgusted by the Democratic party as a whole and I hold them as accountable as the Bush administration for our nation's spiraling problems: the war in Iraq, the inequality of our public education system, the entrenched corporate influence everywhere. They have failed to be a voice of the people, failed quite astonishingly at this. When I see Dennis Kucinich speak, as I did addressing the DNC a few days ago, I think to myself, "Why is this man treated like he's such a joke?" The Democratic establishment, they are the joke, but it's one of those not-funny, makes-your-stomach-hurt-to-think-of kind of jokes. He said something very wise in his speech: he said that he is not talking about a shift from right to left, he is talking about a shift from down to up. This may not seem revolutionary at face value, but it is. He is talking about disregarding that old dial, the one that trapped us into believing in the false duality of the Republicans versus the Democrats, and create a new one, one reflecting deep change, true progress. Again, I have to ask, why is this man treated as such a joke?
Anyway, back to Obama. I cannot imagine that McCain and his tired old cronies can generate even a small percentage of the passion that Obama did in that Denver stadium, not even if they had Merlin whipping up a tempest in his cauldron. The debates between them, I think and hope, will look like the Kennedy/Nixon match up and the Chicago senator will blow that old war monger out of the water. He is the old guard, despite his largely mythic and construed maverick persona, and the people are tired of it. McCain is more of the same, and we cannot abide any more of the same. Obama, while he still gives unfortunate lipservice to the importance of nuclear development and various other Eisenhower-era values, does represent a change in the guard here, not necessarily from down to up, but at least from down to middle. That's something! And I can only hope that the mixed race child of a single mother would be personally aware of how working people are living today. I can only hope that he's not so shielded that he is out of touch with this.
So I am guardedly hopeful. Barack and Michelle Obama: they have exactly the sort of image - I'm sorry if that sounds superficial, but it's absolutely the right word - we need on the world stage representing our country as soon as possible. I am not swept up in Obamamania, but after these last eight years of an utterly atrocious administration that makes decisions befitting such an outfit of robber barons and crooks, I am hopeful that something different can occur with him. And we desperately need something different.