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Making the Race One about Spiritual Transformation

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<em>Let me expand on the idea in my previous piece, '"Long National Nightmare" is What Obama Should Be Talking About.'  That's the one that began by saying of "the yearning in many Americans for a profound spiritual change from this long national Bushite nightmare":  

It is the wave of this feeling that has wafted Obama –with his mantra of CHANGE– to the top of the political heap.</blockquote></em>


Obama's strategy should focus should focus on putting more and more Americans in touch with a longing for real change in the spirit that has dominated American political power in recent years.  He needs to help Americans become aware that such spiritual transformation represents the most what is at stake in this presidential election.

Hillary has tried to make the race about who would be the tougher, better commander-in-chief at three in the morning, and about who is the better master of the terrain of policy formulation.  And who’s most battle-tested in the ugly world of American politics in this fascistic era.

All plausible arguments about what our choosing a president this year is about.

But I say with Obama, “Not this time!”  This time, as Obama understands, the most important criterion is something quite different.

Obama has to reach out to more people, and do so in different ways, to make it about HIS understanding of what this election is about.

"Commander in chief" is important, but we need something more fundamental right now:  we need someone to restore the spiritual core of the nation.  We need someone of real integrity and moral commitment to come to power with the solemn intention to do his very best to restore integrity and moral commitment to the American body politic.  

This is what Obama’s race has been about.  But he's not trumpeting this core message powerfully enough to reach some of the groups of Americans whose support he needs.

To reach the second tier of people in America –the union workers in the rust belt, for example—with his message of deep change, Obama's got to come up with new ways of sparking a desire for real CHANGE the nature of the spirit that animates power in America.  

In their hearts, millions of Americans implicitly know about this darkness.  At some level, even if they don't want to look at it, a great many Americans sense that we have been ruled by criminals, by liars, by thugs, by moral monsters.  

Different groups of Americans can be led to see different parts of this.  Obama's initial message has sufficed for those, like the readers here, who were already deeply, painfully aware of this darkness.  For other groups, other approaches are necessary.

Like talking about the role of the lobbyists, and the special interests, and how seriously the public good has been overpowered by insatiable greed and lust for power.  Like talking about how political power has been used to create the biggest gulf between the rich and the poor in America since the Gilded Age, the age of the Robber Barons.

Like talking about the contrast between the present spirit, and the basic American values of liberty and justice for all, of the rule of law.  

Obama makes gentle allusions in these directions.  But with Clinton voters, he needs to blow harder on the embers of their concerns at this deeper level.

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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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