Sunday, January 06, 2008

Obama, Hillary, And The Meaning Of Change

I'm watching the CNN rerun of last night's Dem debate. In a clear swipe at Obama's focus on change, Hillary said, in effect, "I don't just talk about change, I've been making change happen for 35 years."

She obviously doesn't get it.

Regardless of which political party people identify with, regardless of which ideology they favor, most people are worried about the same things. What's happening to the economy? What happens if I get sick? Are we safe from our enemies? What will the future look like for my children?

Sadly, these questions are only a secondary concern in institutional politics these days. The primary concern of institutional politics is power. The two parties have become so bitterly, ruthlessly opposed that they're no longer working together to solve the problems that face us. In fact, their primary mission seems to be to blocking the other from actually getting anything done.

That kind of political self indulgence is a luxury this country can no longer afford. A growing number of Americans are starting to realize that the petty bullshit that's been contrived to divide and subdivide us serves only the establishment machines. The power elites would gladly leave this country to burn while its citizenry squabbles over gay marriage.

That is what Obama is trying to say. That is his message of change. That is why he doesn't pander to the Democratic base and why he doesn't whack on Republicans for sport. He is setting an example... he is breaking the cycle of destructive partisan politics. His timing is perfect... I think people are starting to wake up.

Obama has written plenty of policy position papers to appeal to the wonks. I'm not in agreement with every position he's taken... I don't expect my ideals to align perfectly with any candidate. What I believe, however, is that Barack Obama is uniquely able to redirect this country's energy back to solving our problems instead of merely fighting over them.

No other candidate, Republican or Democratic, will do that. I know not everyone sees and appreciates what I'm seeing here but I'm hoping enough of them will come November.

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