Monday, May 12, 2008

Understanding Obama-rama

To some the enthusiasm for the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama seems sudden, unexpected—even impulsive. The groundswell of support for Obama, evidenced by the impressive number and amount of donations to his campaign, may be unprecedented.

His rallies and public appearances emit messianic vibrations that make critics and cynics cringe. Given his recent arrival on the national scene, his campaign victories over established brandname opponents have been remarkable.
The passionate reception for Obama as secular savior derives from a growing unease in the nation’s collective consciousness. Too many things are going wrong. Conditions are becoming critical, and corrective action is now imperative. Thus, “change” is the common catchword in the current contest for the world’s most powerful office.
However, the pendulum of America’s duopoly politics has not been an effective mechanism for real change. The interaction between the Democrat and Republican parties has not functioned as a transcendental dialectic resolving the increasingly serious problems confronting America. The arc of this political pendulum grows smaller, reaches its nadir and does nothing.
Yet, voters ride the swing and continue to be disappointed that their votes rarely yield results that match their hopes.
Now, distressed and deeply disappointed by the fiascos and the arrogant incompetence of the Bush-Cheney neo-conservatives, the nation again seeks change. But, simply replacing Republican ideologues with Democrat ideologues will not bring transformational change. Transformational change requires that public policy be made with impartial rationality free of vanities, venalities, and the self-interest of party politics. Each issue must be assessed by openminds striving to find effective resolutions that benefit the general welfare rather than appease or reward various groups.
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have demonstrated much impartial rationality—freethinking is difficult for those whose minds are shackled to undeviating political perspectives or distracted by grasping self-interest. Because Americans insist on voting only for brandname political parties, aspiring leaders, perforce, must use one of the two established parties as vehicles to office. There is, as yet, no party of reason.
However, the Barack Obama phenomenon may be the incipient indicator of an atmospheric political alteration that transcends change as a mere swing from Republican to Democrat. Obama-mania is propelled and sustained by a rising new force in American society and politics—the millennial generation.
In their book Millennial Makeover, researchers Morely Winograd and Michael D. Hais describe the American generation born between 1982 and 2003. Dubbed the Millennials this generation is more numerous than the Baby Boom generation, more diverse and technologically adroit. Nearly 40% of them are non-white and 20% are children of immigrants.
They have grown up with the Internet and digital technology, both of which they use extensively to stay informed, united, and politically active.
Millennials are optimistic, pragmatic, believe in fairness and cooperation, and are determined to effect positive change. These attributes are essential for a generation that inherits an ailing planet, economic cannibalism, and a venal, dysfunctional political system.
Like the exceptional generation that achieved the technological and social advancements of the early 20th century, the Millennials must be creative, courageous, pioneering, and united in common cause and by shared ideals. They must be problem solvers on a grand scale.
The Millennials reject doctrinaire politics and believe that if reason and cooperation replace bipolar politics government can be an effective instrument for problem solving. Unencumbered by such tediously divisive issues as race, sexual preference, and religion, they are uncommonly united. These are the kids who have thrust Obama to within reach of the U.S. presidency, and who have frustrated the established order, especially Hillary Clinton.
Clinton held the presumptive expectation that she would be the Democratic presidential nominee. Following the usual political formulary her expectation was not unrealistic. But, expectations are upsets waiting to happen, and the magnitude of Clinton’s upset is equal to that of her expectations. It explains why she stubbornly continued a lost campaign. She is the first political casualty of the approaching Millennial tsunami.
Bob Dylan expresses it perfectly: “Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly aging. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, ‘cause the times, they are a’changin.”
When Obama talks about change the Millennials understand it to be more than a campaign banality. The new boss better not be the same as the old boss. Obama is expected to usher in real change and the beginnings of a reformation of American society and government built on fresh values and perspectives unclouded by stale political doctrines or sullied by personal venalities. Millennials will not tolerate an untrustworthy government or an economic system that practices predatory capitalism disguised as free market economics.
The wheel is still in spin, but if it names Obama he better be the real deal. This nation, this planet, cannot survive wasting any more time on the political pendulum.

Randy Alcorn’s column appears every other Tuesday in the Daily Sound. Send comment via e-mail to


Trekking Left said...

I agree with your general premise here, but as a proud liberal, I feel the need to point out a couple of things:

Firstly, it's the DemocratIC party; not the Democrat party. The Right made that up to diminish the party name ... kind of like the Clear Skies Act or the Healthy Forests Initiative or whatever. Words matter.

Secondly, your statement that "simply replacing Republican ideologues with Democrat ideologues will not bring transformational change" feeds this myth that both parties are the same. The fact is that much of the horribleness you speak of is the result of Republicans controlling all levels of government for 6 years. The Right doesn't get to make a mess of things when in power and then claim "well, Bush and Cheney aren't really conservatives" when things go bad.

Vigilante said...

Kudos, Trekking Left, on all points.

Using the noun form "Democrat" where the adjective form "Democratic" would be appropriate reveals a degree of illiteracy. Unless it's deliberate of course. Some Conservatives want to deny the fact that one of the two major American parties is "democratic" by calling it the "Democrat" party. It's a artless dismissal, reflecting badly on their own education. Maybe it's unconscious. It's still embarrassing. Bush referred to 'Democrat Israel' on his recent foraging for a single achievement in the Middle East.

On Trekking Left's second point, I feel compelled that it's equally artless for Republicans to pretend government is the root of all evil, when they mess it up so much whenever they are given a chance to have a go at it.