Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tears of hope

I just watched this video again:

I can understand the cynics who say that this particular piece of art advanced a candidate with shiny, happy, musical, media magic; giving him an unfair youtube-licous advantage for free. It must be especially galling to Obama's opposition that the final result is inspirationally hard to resist and was created by people not officially associated with the campaign, and not asked or paid to produce the piece. I understand and agree that this can be construed as marketing genius. But as I watched (for what is probably the 50th or 60th time) tears streamed down my smiling face.

Because - well, frankly I am a sucker for inspirational marketing- but more than that...
we want change.
We Want Change.

I read once that most children want to vote with whatever candidate or party is in power. When I was younger that translated to most school age children (myself included) wishing we could vote (or get our parents to vote for) for Reagan. The reason offered in the article was that most kids (at least of my nationality, race, and socio-economic status) basically feel safe, that the world and leaders are protecting them and are somehow contributing to the general, comfort-creating conditions. That was definitely true for me as a child. Not that I credited the republican party for how safe I was, but my general sense at election time of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. " My parents were kind enough at the time not to spend a lot of energy trying to explain the tax cuts for the rich, the ballooning national deficit, the thousands of people dying by the cruelty of foreign regimes and an un-named AIDS virus, that Ollie North was probably not our greatest American hero, the upsetting dark-side of trickle-down economics, the culture wars set in motion when a "conservative movement" declared war on unwed moms and providers offering the option of abortion, and encouraging God to be positioned as a running mate and political strategist for future generations, etc...

So now I'm older and I've learned to mistrust politicians and practically despise the leaders of conservative politics who seem to want nothing to change (like the 8th grader in me.) But here's this guy, this Obama guy, and here's this entire generation of kids who are pushing for change. And Yeah, I want change. I want a break from all the really rich folks getting elected and taking a break from the big oil BOD jobs to run the country for 8 years. I want to trust that some people in power are NOT going to use that role to pit average citizens against one another a la, "if you're not with us, you're against us" GWB. Mostly I want someone who will give a complex, nuanced answer to a difficult question, and not pretend that sound bites and slogans are policies. It's been a long time since my views were in line with a "majority" of Americans, but this video and the fact that it has received over 8 million hits makes me feel hopeful:

We've been told we can not do this by a chorus of cynics- they will only grow louder and more dissonant. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope... but in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about HOPE...

i'm lovin' it.

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