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Gambling on Obama is Our Safest Bet

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The Clintons suggested, not long ago, that putting Obama into the presidency would be "a roll of the dice."  In some ways, they're right:  there are more uncertainties about what Obama would attempt and what he would accomplish as president than about a Clinton or a McCain presidency.  

But even so, our taking a chance on Obama in the White House is more prudent, less dangerous, than either of the other two remaining possibilities.   That's because while America MIGHT not get the leadership it needs with Obama, with McCain or Clinton we're SURE of not getting it.  

For what America needs right now is transformational leadership, and of the three potential presidents we might get in 2008, only Barack Obama offers such leadership as a possibility.

We think of gambling as a kind of risk-taking.  But sometimes not taking any risk is simply to admit defeat and to acquiesce in disaster.  Hiking across the arctic waste is dangerous, but if your other option is to sit where you are and freeze to death, to take the hike is the prudent option and to stand pat is to accept catastrophe.

For most all of American history, it has been reasonable for Americans to choose some form of "steady-as-you-go" leadership.  That's what we've generally had in America.  Although the differences between the candidates have not been trivial, American leadership has generally maintained the essence of the status quo, with adjustments along the margins.   If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

But these are not ordinary times in America.  Now it IS broke.

Thanks to two terms of a lawless presidency, with America simply accepting being ruled by a criminal enterprise, the American political system is dangerously damaged and seriously needs fixing.  Under these circumstances, leadership of the steady-as-you-go kind is simply inadequate.  

If the Bushite forces had never taken over and damaged the American system so badly, or if the American political system had dealt with these liars by reasserting the truth, and with these gangsters by reasserting the rule of law, then American might be able to afford a conventional presidency of the kind offered by Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

But the democratic system bequeathed us by our Founders is foundering.   Conventional leadership will not be able to restore it.  The usual kind of leadership, anchored firmly in our now-degraded system, will not be able to harness the deep powers of truth to overturn the culture of lies.  Nor will such leadership be able to reverse the force of insatiable greed in fostering injustice, nor bring people together as a force sufficient to triumph over those dark forces for whom the fomenting of division and conflict has been the means to power.

The forces of evil remain powerful, and America must tap into some form of power that lies outside of our corrupted system to overcome them.  

This is what transformational leadership can do:  not the leader alone, but the leader summoning up the spirit and inspiring the latent force of the American people who yearn for something better than what this descent into fascism has made us.  American now needs a leader that can that can summon up the better angels of our nature to take over from the evil forces that have taken hold, and to which the not-evil have acquiesced.

We know that neither Hillary Clinton nor John McCain will be that kind of transformational leader.  They are both enmeshed in the damaged system, both entangled with the deceptions and manipulations that have brought us to this dark place.

However much good either of them may aspire to accomplish as president, they lack the means of lifting us out of our present mire.  Neither John McCain nor Hillary Clinton is inspiring.  Neither of them, therefore, has what it takes to evoke and harness the deeper spiritual and moral energies of the American people.   And, manifestly, neither of them is plugged into deeper the place America has to get to in order to cleanse its soiled soul and to overcome the obstacles to repairing our degraded political system.

Thus we have in these three candidates two basic choices.  While there are important differences between Hillary Clinton and John McCain, they both represent the same option with respect to steady-as-you-go vs. transformational leadership.  And this year, that's a dangerous option.

So that’s why it has to be Obama.  With Hillary and John we know that the devastating effects of evil on the American body politic will not be healed, that those forces will not be exorcised, driven out, replaced by America’s best spirit.  

With Obama, we at least have a chance.

(And the more I watch this man, and the more I read his book DREAM FROM MY FATHERS written when he was in his early thirties, and before he was seeking public office –an extraordinary book by an extraordinary human spirit—the more I think it is a good chance.)
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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