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Values vs Candidates

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Message Cody Lyon

In what was probably the most important speech of his political career thus far, Barack Obama used his acceptance speech at the Democratic party convention to light up the election season stratosphere in ways that both inspired and challenged voters to consider the stark choices being offered this fall.

In one of the speeches' more powerful moments, Obama said "America, we are better than these last eight years," and "we are a better country than this."

For anyone that calls themselves middle class, lower middle class, poor or whatever wonkish and impersonal term that gets applied by countless experts, politicians or pundit, the tea leaves seem to indicate a resounding... he's correct.

Basically, over the past eight years, we've witnessed actions by our executive branch that have further tested much of the nation's mantle of trust in government. We find ourselves in a what might be called a nationwide psychological malaise, an unfortunate sense of collective frustration, even depression. The litany of almost incomprehensible events administrated by the current White House, from misleading tactics that led to the invasion of Iraq to allegations of abuses of power in our Justice System to a tax code that rewards the country's most wealthy while cold shoulders are turned to struggling homeowners, those without healthcare and the longrunning continued fostering of cruel cultures of poverty, inequity and damaged ladders of opportunity.

In short, the sense of gloom in America is tangible.

An April 3 "CBS News" poll found that 81 percent of Americans believe the United States is headed in the wrong direction.

Still, during the Democratic party primaries, many Americans became more engrossed by the petty, but typical political drama's of those days instead of debates and analysis of policy specifics.

At times, it seemed that many Democrats were more engaged by personalities, baggage and images.

As the convention approached, many pundits and others with platforms still appeared to be more focused on the drama's between the Hillary's and the Barack's rather than the real drama of reality on the ground that is America, a drama that was continuing its pronounced assent onto the stage of the nation's sad collective reality.

At the stadium acceptance speech, Senator Obama did his best at clearing up the mess by reaching out to those Democrats, who have expressed leeriness over his relative inexperience in foreign policy, his un-tested mettle in dealing with powerful big business lobbies or, more simply, what they see as a starry eyed idealist, who like many humans upon entering the shark infested political waters of Washington, often succumb to the molding of powers that be, forces that in the end, shape policy, policies that in the end, are the nuts and bolts of our economy, defense, education system, health care and in the end, how this has impacted our collective national psyche.

Most Democrats hope and feel he succeeded in alleviating those fears for now.

But there was something else that took place that night. If nothing else, Obama, if only for a moment, lifted the nation's psyche and in some ways succeeded in inspiring all Americans to believe that the dream is still alive in this land of freedom, where the bells of democracy occasionally ring with messages of hope, not the fear and gloom that has crippled the very essence of who and what we as a people stand for and strive to be.

Obama's uplifting moment followed an by his former opponent when she did her best to further bridge the divide between those Democrats who express leeriness about Obama.

Just two nights before the Obama moment, Senator Hillary Clinton stood before her supporters on the floor along with millions of viewers and voters who had long held to the belief that it was she, not Obama, who should have been chosen to lead the party to a November victory against the Republican party.

Television reports showed delegates in tears, but, even still, Clinton directed a laser eye at her supporters and made it clear, she is not their therapist or for that fact, their Mother.

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Cody Lyon is an Alabama native who is a freelance writer in New York City.
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