Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Be the change...

Ghandi told us to 'Be the change you want to see in the world. " It was that admonition that came to mind as I have been watching Obama twist and squirm over the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's recent return to the political spotlight. San Francisco blogger Stephen Smoliar defines Obama's problem better than most television talking masks.
Some interesting conundrums continue to boil up in the stew the media have cooked over the charge of elitism leveled against Barack Obama. Given that one of his messages has been that of uniting groups with many different interests and values under a single "umbrella," under which they can discuss their differences as well as their agreements, an accusation of elitism is tantamount to an accusation of hypocrisy. Thus, as I had previously speculated, this attack may have been concerned more with finding and piercing Obama's most critical point of vulnerability than with weighing the many issues relevant to deliberating over who would make the best successor to the Oval Office. My reasoning is simple enough: The American electorate may not fully grasp all the intricacies associated with the rights and duties of the Executive branch of their government, but they know hypocrisy when it bites them. If they are convinced that, for all of his "audacity of hope," he is as hypocritical as any other politician, then there is a strong chance that they will turn away from him.
It is this question of hypocrisy about which we need to be mindful. Even Republican pollster, spin meister Frank Luntz reminds us that Americans want a sense that their candidates are "genuine." This This is particularly necessary when one tries to stake out a position on some high moral ground. To the be found wanting is fatal to any aspiration to political power. Greens should pay special attention as we have not political power, only the moral high ground.

If Obama eventually loses and Clinton wins the nomination, it will not be solely because of his association with Rev. Wright, but rather because in the final analysis Americans have judged him just another politician.


Anonymous said...

Why is that a sin --to be a politician? that is what these people are--politicians! Someone new on the scene and people want them to be the saviour. Of course Clinton can't be a saviour because she is too well known, and we already know she is a politician.

Blah, blah, it is all so tiring... this ridiculous elongated campaign season in the U.S. --go to the 3 weeks or so like the French and be done with it and save hundreds of billions of dollars that make it impossible for anyone but the rich, or those backed by the very rich, to run now. President Carter said on The Daily Show the other night that he couldn't have won in this climate because he didn't have any money.

While you are tuning out of the Rev. Wright drama, and the search for the next GREAT GAFFE in which to hang a candidate a la Howard Dean, check out this film from 1990, MINDWALK. Liv Ullmann plays a scientist --her feminist/holistic/green speeches will blow you away. I just came across this movie at a friend's house that has Showtime.

the director is Fritjof Capra's brother
***** connection with our Charlene Spretnak, green goddess/author of the green movement****
After touring Germany in the early 1980s, Capra co-wrote a book on Green Politics with ecofeminist author Charlene Spretnak called Green Politics, in 1984.
Capra contributed to the screenplay for the 1990 movie Mindwalk, starring Liv Ullman, Sam Waterston, and John Heard, which was loosely based on his book, The Turning Point. This book was also the inspiration for a broad based ad campaign called "The Turning Point Project"

Anonymous said...

oops, i meant hundreds of millions of dollars.

I don't want to add to the problem of Innumeracy in action!

Wes said...

Lisa, by the time that you are as old as I am now, you will find such mistakes to be more frequent.

However, as for Obama and whether it is a "sin" for anyone to be a politician, I would say that it might be when one positions themselves as being somehow above all of the political calculus. He is right that most Americans are fed up with the constant James Carville / Dick Morris / Frank Luntz spin machines. However, when you ascend the heights, nothing will pull you down more quickly than being shown (rightfully or wrongly) to be a hypocrite. Americans dislike hypocrisy in politicians almost as much as the do in preachers.

Actually, some have made a living out of such goings on, would that Jay Leno rose to the wite and wisdom of a Will Rogers.