Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama Strategy

I think Obama's strategy is fascinating. I have such a top-down view of politics and the media, which has been reinforced by Bushs "I'm the decider"(and my-way-or-the-highway, blatant lying and manufacturing of threats, civil rights abuses against American ciizens, and legal limbo for those in Guantanamo based on a Presidential Directive) mentality, that to see Obama actually DO politics differently is a refreshing reminder that this kind of wishy washy stuff I learned about at college is still possible. Bush and the Republicans have so dominated the political landscape in the last 6 or 7 years, I think it is hard for many people to remember that there is actually another party that actually is capable of DOING politics differently, not just policy. When I see Obama speak, his insecurity, honesty, openness, and sensitivity, his embrace of difference and nuance, and his skin color, all seem so foreign to me as to make me feel uncomfortable. I think this is a stark reminder of what the Republican's actual plan was - to create a permanent Republican majority(Greenspan talks about such plans in his book Age of Turbulence) and how close they came! Indeed, I think one of the more horrendous and dangerous consequences of the Bush administration was the effect on our culture. Now I am not privy to the actual mechanics behind politics influence of culture, perhaps Scantron might have something to add, but in a general sense it is quite easy for one to see how the more authoritarian a political system becomes, the more the personality of one man, or one Republican system, with his/its ENORMOUS power and presence, can influence the more docile and passive apes in the jungle. In the last 7 years, the examples are plentiful and they are global. And of course, the policies(who can say Bush's time in office has not been marred by his uncompromising commitment to violence, epic nightmarish violence against a people and a region) can certainly affect the culture of the country, as can the main support groups who have such a say in our political system - in this case THE EVANGELICAL RIGHT: THE CRAZIES! And so, when I saw Obama speak, it really was, not really Hope(I'm not that desperate yet), but it was something I think many of us had forgotten, somehow Bush and the Republicans disconnected us from each other and our common humanity - from a divisive war, to economic inequality, to intolerance, and the chief culprit - single mindedness. Bush's refusal to change dug the hole only deeper. And this makes sense - by refusing to change policy you maintain that YOU are in charge, that you do not answer to anyone but yourself, and that no "people" will have a say in how you proceed, you can exact your will as you wish and as you please. You are that powerful and in control.

However, Obama's strategy is clearly a bottom-up strategy. He visits with people and builds consensus. He builds emotional momentum. This strategy is something you can not see - it is not as easy as running a tank into Baghdad and not as visible, or a better example would be feverishly pointing fingers at the White House Press Corps while proclaiming "I'm the decider" - but still, it is working. First, his campaign built its momentum in the United States during the primaries...his own rocketship...and with the wind at his back captured the hearts and minds of students and liberal intellectuals, and all of us in a way, with his rhetoric and his public displays of kindness - yes Barack is a moral leader - not a dogmatic one - but..what's it called...secular humanism..and now he is talking about breaking down the walls that divide us..the walls that George Bush built and used to shout down at us(see first paragraph). He has no illusions about American military power - yes we can kick ass, but come on this is not supposed to be used liberally..it is DEATH after all....and I think, despite public pronouncements, envisions a world with a nuclear Iran, which is something we can deal with because war would, of course, be a much worse thing than a nuclear Iran...and....well to use the bomb would mean the end of the world and Iran is not CRAZY, just impotent enough to act crazy with those British sailors - but this is just my opinion.

But look at what Obama is doing. He is extending his primary strategy to the world stage. He is building what he calls "momentum." Grass roots Chicago style organizing on a global scale - THE ONLY WAY TO DO IT! It may be so..after all this is a quiet revolution against an oppressor - King George - that's what this is about, in America and Europe. Grass roots organizing is(ha ha) bottom-up. This is a bottom up revolution on a global scale. It is fascinating.

Man has always tried to overthrow his master, his oppressor, and throughout history has fought in the name of all sorts of variants of justice, in order to preserve the human condition, freedom, and rights. Is our time so different? Yes, this was a fairly corrupt time by historical standards - in every facet of civic life. But there is nothing history and humanity have more in common than examples of intolerance for excessive power - ala parental relationships or society. Here it comes again.


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