This blog started in political disappointment. I started blogging in the days running up to and immediately after the 2000 election that essentially destroyed America. I hated seeing the Democrats going after the staunchest defenders of progressive values in attacking the Nader campaign, I hated seeing Bush take the White House despite his clear lack of an electoral mandate (losing by a loophole in the rules is even more unsatisfying than losing outright!).
In the years since, I’ve gotten more and more cynical about politics and especially about politicians. It’s a media game, and the winner is the corporation (because that’s what candidates for the big positions are these days) with the bet media campaign, not the best political campaign.
I’ve barely taken an interest in this year’s presidential campaign. I’m not a Democrat, so I didn’t caucus — but I have no strong feelings about any of the candidates, except I’d rather it wasn’t Hilary Clinton. (Aside: Clinton was the first female member of the board of directors at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has a long history of abuses on both the labor front and the gender front. Either Clinton didn’t care, or she wasn’t able to effect any real change — either way, that’s bad news for a presidency.) But basically I feel that it’s impossible to tell anything about a candidate from their campaign — like any product, the campaign highlights their best features, exaggerates them, and shuts down entirely any negative reactions. Given the huge amount of corporate and lobbyist wealth that’s necessary to mount a bid for the presidency, how could anyone get so far as the primaries without already being deeply compromised?
All that said, this video gave me chills:
For the first time, I’m starting to feel like there’s a real person, a Mensch in Yiddish, running for office. Obama’s record isn’t spotless, and he’s definitely reaching for the center which hardly bodes well for a progressive like me, but there’s something authentic and genuine there that these singers and musicians (admittedly, they’re pros) have tapped into.
At this point, the only thing I hope is that another Republican doesn’t get to the White House. The Republican Party has become so detached from reality, I don’t even know how they can manage to get through the day, let alone exercise real power. I’m resigned as always to the fact that I’m going to disagree with whoever gets elected, that there will be plenty of call for active opposition to the policies of whoever is the next President.
But I wouldn’t mind feeling inspired a little, too — to feel as if, whatever our differences, there was a President who felt a little hopeful, a little compassionate, and a little bit driven in the White House.
I guess that’s an endorsement of Obama, for whatever that’s worth.
Update: Here’s the roiginal unaltered speech (the part highlighted in the video above starts at about 10:50):