How Do You Defeat Hope?

     Whether you think Obamania is a farce or a great marketing campaign designed by corporate interests, the truth is he is becoming a phenomenon. Regardless of how this election turns out he has changed the face of the electorate and what we thought we knew about it. The only question is if he is not elected what will he do with it? Many have tried to compare this movement with the Jesse Jackson movements of the 80's, this effort is intrinsically different for a number of reasons. The "Rainbow Coalition" was built on outreach to black churches, grass-root efforts to social groups, and was primarily black oriented. Despite winning 13 primaries in 1988, Jesse Jackson was never a viable candidate. He represented the frustration of many voters with the excesses of the Reagan years and a weakened slate of Democratic candidates. In the end Mr. Jackson's desire for self-enrichment won out over his interest for his fellow black Americans.

    Barack Obama cannot be called the black candidate reaching out to whites. If anything he was originally perceived as the "white" candidate reaching out to blacks. There were questions about his focus on black issues, on his heritage, and his supporters. Many of those questions were answered in South Carolina as he beat the field by a resounding margin. Each day the phenomenon is growing with those who were fence sitters summoning up the courage to hope and to dream. It is sad that we have become so cynical that many of us were too afraid and too skeptical to hear the message he was bringing. Whether you believe in his message or not, it is becoming harder and harder to resist it. Why is it becoming so hard to resist? It is simple really, if you come out against hope what are you promoting?

All the more Republicans need to unravel Obama's hope line until there is no string left. In the months ahead, real thinkers will discover time and again Republicans calling Obama on his junior high speech class deliveries. Renew America

    These are the same voices that heralded Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" as a call for change and hope. The truth is becoming clearer; the problem is not Obama, it is that he has the audacity to offer hope. The sad thing is that the more he offers hope the more he is attacked because of it. Whether you believe in the message or not, one has to be concerned with the tenor of dissent. How dare you people have hope that things can change. I personally believe that change will come but as the opposition is proving it will not be easy. I am not sure that the message of hope will be enough, but I'll be damned if I will say it is crazy to have hope or that he is offering false hope. If we take hope from the world, what are we left with? And who would want to live in a world without it? I know I don't.

    Barack Obama is asking Americans to dream of an America that never was and may never be, but that with hope anything is possible. What is so bad about that message? There are two ways to change things and Democratic voters are being offered both options. The first is as Hillary Clinton says by attacking the system from within, by using her years of experience to gradually tilt the system toward average Americans. How many politicians have offered to change the system from within? The second as Barack Obama says is to change the whole system from top to bottom. Change how we do the changing. He wants to throw out the old models and lines of division and create a true ruling majority that reaches across race, party, and gender.

    The thing that bothers me is that in order to combat a campaign of hope what does the opposition have to offer in its place? The response so far has been to offer cynicism, dismissal, and condescension. He is too naïve to understand how things work, he doesn't have the necessary experience, or my favorite is hope will never work. Are we as a nation so stuck in our little categories that we can never rise above them? Are there not things about America and its ideals that we can rally behind or are we permanently locked into this death dance pitting one against the other? Many people believe that we are and that our only hope is to beat each other into submission. I don't believe that and from what I have seen there are millions of other Americans who feel the same.

    There is a mystic quality that surrounds this movement being led by Obama and it is palpable at his events. He was recently in Kansas City and there was a feeling among the people that I have never felt at a political event. It was like people who had been trapped in a tunnel or a mine coming to the surface and being able to take in the light and air again. The winds are blowing across America and the cynics and old standards can belittle it and criticize it, but how do you stop hope? How do you stop people from believing in themselves and the future? The thing that strikes me most about Obamania is its constant call not to raise Obama, but to raise the people. Unlike Hillary he doesn't say I can fight and win, he says we can fight and win as a people, as a nation. Instead of fear and division there was hope and calm. There is excitement in the air, but not like an impulsive restlessness. It is more like a feeling of expectancy of good things to come.

    There is a feeling that if we choose our best days is not behind us, but ahead of us. Is that true? I don't know, but it's like telling my kid he can't be an astronaut I won't be the one to burst his bubble. If America wants to believe that we can change and rise above all those things that have held us down for centuries, who am I to say that we can't? Who are you?

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic - John F. Kennedy

The Disputed Truth

Tags: Barack Obama, Democrats, Election 2008, Hillary Clinton, hope (all tags)

Comments

21 Comments

Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

The problem is that many of us have been sold this bill of good and only seen it implode later on. I fell for it in my twenties.

by Ga6thDem 2008-02-01 04:42AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

The problem is that too many people are like the middle-aged women I meet a lot, they have been through so many frogs that they wouldn't know a prince if he bite them in the ass.

by Forgiven 2008-02-01 04:49AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

Well Obama isn't doing anything to disabuse them of that notion. He acts like giving a good speech is the remedy for all his flaws. Maybe if he quit being such a slick talker and had a better record of actually doing something it could be overcome. He has no record to speak of and that's what people want to see. Actions matter more than words.

by Ga6thDem 2008-02-01 04:56AM | 0 recs
no, we recognise the frogs

and Obama is one of them. He is arrogant, unfocused and expects to win because he gives good speeches. His playing of the race card was the last straw for me.  He is a creep.

PS.. you are wrong about Jackson.  He has been marginalized as the black candidate over the years but that is not how he ran.  It really was a rainbow coalition.  He never played the race card.

by MollieBradford 2008-02-01 05:16AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

that's an interesting comment.  who, specifically let you down in that manner?

by the mollusk 2008-02-01 05:07AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

Gary Hart for one.

These campaigns always implode sooner or later. Dean was one of the ones that imploded sooner.

by Ga6thDem 2008-02-01 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

(Thanks for the honest response)

So it isn't necessarily that their policy positions let you down, it's that there just isn't enough of a foundation to their candidacy so that if/when the shit hits the fan they have no way of recovering?  Am I putting words into your mouth (keyboard?)?

This is an earnest question.

by the mollusk 2008-02-01 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

Yes and I see Obama as a walking talking implosion waiting to happen. He hasn't shown the discipline necessary to win a national campaign. He has gone to the lowest common denominator to win SC which will kill him in the general because he's already set himself up by playing right into the GOP's hands.

On policy positions, his healthcare plan is poorly thought out. And he said last night that he's going to have to mete out some pushishment for people who don't have insurance thereby negating his whole argument against Hillary. He acted like he didn't even know what his healthcare plan entailed!

Even Dem primary voters don't see the IWR as that big of deal and I'm sure that the general voting population sees it as less so. His support of radical fundamenatlists in Kenya is a BIG mistake too. We already get enough support for radical fundamentalists from the GOP so why would we want to have a Dem who supports them too?

by Ga6thDem 2008-02-01 07:16AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

You don't.   I have no desire whatsoever to defeat Hope.

It is just that some of Obama's supporters seem to arrogantly assume he has cornered the market on hope, dreams and inspiration.  They are wrong.

I am VERY hopeful and inspired by Hillary.  I also am VERY confident that she can do the job better than any other.  It's a twofer.

I reject your entire premise, as do a lot of the voters so far.  

by WMCB 2008-02-01 05:04AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

Just what I was going to say.  

He does not have the monopoly on hope. When he puts it together with more experience he will be a formidable candidate.  I look forward to supporting him in 2016, or even 2012 if Hillary does not do as good a job as I beleive she will.

Everybody already has hope, as I think Maxine Waters said.  It is all that gets most of us out of bed in the morning.

by ocli 2008-02-01 05:44AM | 0 recs
hope for what? Change from what to what?

Obama seems to be hoping he can win the election.  That's about it.

by MollieBradford 2008-02-01 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: hope for what? Change from what to what?

Seems like a pretty good goal for a presidential campaign.

by the mollusk 2008-02-01 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

I believe by your actions you can give Hope.  Words can be very empty as in Obama's case.

by orion1 2008-02-01 05:23AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" as a call for change and hope was based on lies and coded racial promises. What Reagan offered was a return to the period before the Civil Rights Act,  limiting the rights of workers so that they could once be preyed on on by their corporate masters, abandonment of the poor and helpless and the continuation of the premise that The President Is Above The Law.

Obama helping to perpetuate the myth of Reagan does not endear him to people who remember what Reagan really stood for.

Thank you very much but that kind of false hope does not appeal to me.
 

by MOBlue 2008-02-01 05:30AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

good question.
let me take a stab at it.
you defeat hope by:
 trying to bully free-thinking persons to fall into the party (your party) line.

dismissing any pol who is willing to take a rightous stance on an issue as "a spoiler".

having an ABO signature...

etc.

by citizendave 2008-02-01 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

Hillary Clinton is more liberal than her husband.  she doesn't have the same need to please everyone by being all things to all people and yet she has more compassion for the people who need the most help.  It shows in all the work she has done for women and children's issues.  It also shows in the amount of union support and the support she gets from HRC.  They believe she has their best interests at heart.

by MollieBradford 2008-02-01 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

There are people out there who are supporting Hillary for various reasons: experience, hearkening back to the last Clinton, she's tougher, she's a woman, she's utterly competent.  These are all excellent reasons to support her.  And I think people are basically correct on those points.

Then there are those who seem to be driven to distraction by Obama's message, his aura, the naivete of his supporters.  I don't understand this hatred of Obama.  I like him and support him and really hope (there's that word again) that he wins.  But if he does not, I think Hillary would be a good alternative.  The problem, as you point out, is what happens to the movement he has created?  It is, I think, over at that point.

In the long run, maybe it doesn't matter.  Maybe another inspiring leader will come along in the future.  Maybe we're all better off thinking that Dick Morris and James Carville really do know how to win.  This is cynicism, defeatism, but perhaps political reality.

In the end, no amount of words will change the minds of those who truly hate Obama, no matter what their motivations.  I can accept that.  But to those who are simply turned off or don't catch the electricity of his speeches, I'd say don't underestimate the power of getting people to listen to you.  Presidents are the Chief Bureaucrats of a nation.  This is true.  But they also need to move nations by providing leadership and aspiration to the citizens.

People brush off Obama's speeches as "just speeches".  But that is one of the most effective tools a leader has.  We forget this because Bush's speeches are stupid.  Think about Clinton's speeches.  Marvelous.  And he did move the country.  Now think about those speeches on steroids.  You have Obama.

Long-term, the Obama movement is vital to the Progressive movement precisely because he speaks to young people.  People make up their minds about party and politics at a relatively young age (say early to mid 20s) and tend to stay there.  Right now the Democrats are winning a good chunk of those voters.  A president Obama would create a tidal wave of young Progressives who would be around and voting for decades.  Would Hillary do the same?  I just don't know.

by the mollusk 2008-02-01 06:34AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

Has Obama done anything in the Senate to keep those Republicans blocking the bills all year long?  There has been a lot of "talk," but I have seen no action.  It's a bubble that will burst.

by reasonwarrior 2008-02-01 06:48AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?
forgiven, it's not about hope. we all have hope, and that's as it should be. what we need is not hope, which we already have; we need help.
by nance 2008-02-01 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

No we need hope in a better future and in our leadership. How much can a President really do? His primary job is to motivate the people to do what needs to be done or to acquiesce to his judgment. For the last eight years that motivation has been fear and division. My concern is that with Hillary those divisions will be magnified not lessened.

So, it is more than just help. I work with people all the time who get help, but because they have no hope the help they receive does not alleviate the deeper issues and they find themselves repeating the same behavior that required the help in the first place. I am afraid our political and social discourse is stuck in that same viscous circle.

by Forgiven 2008-02-01 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: How Do You Defeat Hope?

The sad part about so many of these responses is that there is almost a "hope" that he will fail. It is almost as if there will be a delight in watching him fail. I don't know if it is so people can say I told you so or if it is a deeper cynicism of life. Either way it is this type of distrust and cynicism that fuels the current state of American politics and culture...

by Forgiven 2008-02-01 07:42AM | 0 recs

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