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Why Obama Can't Destroy Hope Or Prevent Change

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Even though I consider the only major difference between Barack Obama and George W. Bush to be that Obama has the better vocabulary, I don't see Obama's election as being the unnatural disaster that Bush's being elected was.

When Obama got the Democratic nomination, I was in a minority among people I knew, on two counts: 1) I didn't believe anything he said, and 2) I thought it was likely that he would become President.

Most people I talked to liked what Obama said, but they told me I was crazy if I thought America would elect a black man to the Presidency. I told them that it would be easy for a black person to win if he/she* gave people a reason to vote for them - and if they could motivate people who normally saw no reason to vote for either branch of the corporatocracy that rules America.

Election day came, and, by 7 p.m. Arizona time, Obama was a clear winner.

His first term in office hasn't disappointed me (though I could not have anticipated just how identical to Bush he would turn out to be), but only because I never bought into his empty rhetoric about "hope" and "change." Like Bill Clinton, he is a master of talking for a long time while rousingly and brilliantly saying nothing. I'm horrified  by his administration, but not disappointed.

And, even though he's an amoral huckster, the meaning of his being elected is the opposite of what Bush's election meant.
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In the long view, it doesn't matter that Obama is not what he pretended to be. America didn't vote for the reality of the man; it voted for the illusion. It voted for what he pretended to be - a man with a progressive vision, who would bring change. America, despite its infamous racism, wanted that change so badly that it was not daunted by the man's being black.

The math is simple: racists and reactionaries were outnumbered and outvoted by progressives.  Sadly, the man they elected turned out to be a reactionary and - witness his disregard of Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans - racist, or at least willing to use racism to his advantage. But that's not what America voted for, and so Obama's success in lying his way to the White House is evidence that the change so many of us hoped for has already come about.

* I said "he/she" because the other myth is that America would never elect a woman President. Do you really think Oprah Winfrey wouldn't win if she ran?
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Barry Graham is a Scottish novelist, journalist and Zen teacher based in the US since 1995. He is the author of more than a dozen books, and has written for a diversity of magazines and newspapers, including Harper's, Flaunt, Parabola, Las Vegas (more...)

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Why Obama Can't Destroy Hope Or Prevent Change


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Though Obama's supporters have battered wife syndr... by Barry Graham on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 9:52:43 AM
I was both surprised, disappointed and increasingl... by Nick Hentoff on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 11:38:50 AM
Sir,  Remember "black matter" ? It's the best... by Ad Du on Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 10:59:00 AM
Heck, she wouldn't even win the primary w/out CIA ... by Jill Herendeen on Sunday, Feb 17, 2013 at 1:06:40 PM