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Archive for November 5th, 2008

Change

Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of An Historic Election

Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of 'An Historic Election'

I think what finally sold me on Obama was not his platform or his persona but his recent rally at UNC Charlotte. I spoke to a mom who took a half day off work to bring her son to the rally. Obama was his hero. His mom said that he might have only had a negative role model like an athelete or rapper for a hero until Barack came a long. The little guy really was so excited to see his hero speak.

And then it hit me.

Regardless of what our new president does (other than acheiving a mutually agreed upon for of absolute failure), his presidency is already an amazing success. Taking a generation of young african american males and showing them that they can truly be spectacular individuals would do more for our country than any policy ever could. Multiply that effect around the world to less fortunate societies and this could actually be a world changing moment.

But is it?

I pondered this “change” as I drove to work under the gray cloudy sky this morning. I tuned in to the local conservative radio station, WBT 1110 for you Charlotteans, and heard Keith Larson refer to the Democratic party’s domination of Mecklenburg county as ‘proof that our residents will vote for people even if they are scumbags and dirtballs’. And GOP boosters wonder why they lost?

Can this actually be a moment of blissful optimisim for America and the world? I don’t know what that feels like. All I’ve known since I’ve been a moderately competent adult has been hatred from the world, disgrace in our national values and a political vocabulary dominated with meaningless social issues like “family values” in the Karl Rove sense. I’ve yet to believe in “America” or its ideals, especially since I’ve realized the continuous exportation of our negative externalities into rural America (like mountaintop removal coal mining) and into the world. (As much of 50% of China’s greenhouse gas emissions are from US economic factors)

I’ve always felt that a third party view was the most favorable to my values, that the two major parties were props for an overwhelming corporatocracy. Yet, some of the policies that the Democratic party hopes to enact are against the will of industry. Especially the most powerful industries, oil, coal and military. Are we seeing a break from industry masquerading as government? I highly doubt so, but I can be hopeful.

I’ve decided I do know this: the Democrats have political control of this nation and that they had better take advantage of it. If the Democrats fail over the next two years I will truly lose hope for the US. The Republicans had a shot and were found wanting. Policies of absolute fear and social conservatism has driven the GOP to near irrelevance. (Perhaps adopting a mainstream libertarian view would resurrect the elephant side of the political spectrum)

I hope that we take this opportunity to embrace reason over fear. Conversation instead of punditry. Acceptance instead of ‘small town values’. Let’s embrace all of America, instead of just the rural areas. Let’s rebuild our infrastructure.

But are things beyond repair? We’ll find out over the next few months as our next president lays out a plan for rebuilding America from nearly 30 years of waiting for “success” to trickle down. I’m cautiously optimistic right now. But seeing the photos of people around the world crying for joy at this moment has me feeling at least slightly better about our chances for the future.

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