My cynical side says that last night’s victory for Obama is a fleeting moment, that maybe Obama is not what he seems, that he’ll turn out like the rest, that he is all charisma and no substance. But still, a glimmer of hope lies behind the murky cynicism. Of course this hope is somewhat dulled by the fact that “Hope” is his message, his brand. Am I, and much of America, simply falling for Obama’s marketing machine? Has Obama’s visage become subliminally linked with the idea, and indeed the feeling, of “Hope”?
There are many reasons to oppose Obama. I disagree with him on several issues. One of the main reasons for me is Gay Marriage; Obama is against Gay Marriage and for Civil Unions. I believe that Gay Rights is the fundamental civil rights issue of our time and that history will prove this. In fifty years, a politician opposing Gay Rights will be as archaic as a politician nowadays opposing integration. But honestly, in this respect there are no major candidates who are on the right side of the issue, or at least publicly.
Obama is a moderate, in the true, mainstream sense of the word, and so his only real radicalism lies in honestly reaching out to Independents and Republicans. I consider myself to be a radical moderate, in that I lean left and right on many issues, but am extreme on several, mainly issues of personal freedom. Am I going to pan Obama because he is not for the unconditional legalization of all drugs? Probably not, since no one running but the relatively crackpot-ish Ron Paul is.
The biggest thing Obama has going for himself is the charisma, confidence, and striking image of a great leader. He is at once youthful and authoritative. He will be very appealing to people who have been embarrassed by having Bush as our world representative. Here would be a young, confidence, compassionate leader of the most powerful country of the world, such a contrast to Bush.
The most impressive aspect of last night’s caucus was the youth vote. Obama used them to secure his win. The power of the youth was dismissed in the last election, mainly because of Howard Dean’s collapse and Kerry loss. I don’t believe that too many young people related to Dean, I sure didn’t, but his ideas somewhat resonated with them. The problem was, he was not an inspiring speaker or leader. People did not really look up to him. And Kerry, well, we all know what happened there.
The young people of today have surprisingly good bullshit detectors and they saw through Kerry and they can see through Hillary. People voted for Kerry and support Hillary because they feel they should, people support Obama because they want to. Sure, Obama deals the bullshit, the Mother/Cancer story is getting old, but it is so much less than the other candidates.
The last two elections were about the lesser of two evils. Say what you will about Obama, I don’t believe he is evil. And that is really what Obama is all about. He is a viable presidential candidate who is strong, commanding, and somehow not evil. It’s an odd feeling.
Let’s hope he doesn’t get himself assassinated.