I was thinking about this in the Crack Van last night, so trust me, it is not that profound. That said, if we notice them at all, it’s usually the simplest things that we resist the most, or that we dismiss.
Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy for us.
You are the young people who’ve been inspired for the very first time and those not-so-young folks who’ve been inspired for the first time in a long time.
There has been much criticism of Obama that focused on his “pretty speeches,” dismissed his masses of supporters as kool-aid drinkers, claimed his oratory was no substitute for substance and experience.
I know, Christ we all know, that American governance has become a hardball, lowdown wrestling match of brawn and exquisitely orchestrated greed. And we all know also that like calls to like. Greed rewards greed and the thug life is engineered such that only thugs can win.
And for the past decade, we’ve been given one message, over and over and over. It’s been called many things and described in a thousand euphemisms and disguised in a hundred different government programs, but it’s the same message that’s been repeated to us, the citizens of this country:
Suck on it.
We’ve been deliberately and painstakingly conditioned to be cynical and dispirited and complacent. No one in this administration gives a rat’s ass that Bush stumbles and slurs and tap dances his way through another press conference, that every speech and interview is just a succession of nervous tics and malapropisms. They don’t care any more than anyone cared when your principal would stammer through the morning announcements over the school intercom. No one in this administration wants us to be inspired. If they want anything from us, it’s our disinterest.
And in truth, we know the Dems in power have been conditioned to lead the same way. What else explains Reid and Pelosi the last two years? They got handed a mandate and they opened the top drawer of their desks and stuffed it inside, then went down the hall to play the game like the game is played. And we sucked on it some more.
Clinton reads her way through her campaign speeches and drinks the boilermakers and panders to the apathetic and the tired. She wants to win the game like the game is played. No one can argue that she lacks that experience. We recognize it in her and she knows it and she reminds us she is tested and ready.
The pundits were talking on the television last night about those Americans, the one that vote for Hillary and say that they’ll defect to McCain when she loses the nomination. We laughed in the van when they said that there were people who didn’t know Obama, didn’t recognize him as something they might want. It’s true, though.
We are so risk averse in this country, so afraid to settle on something that might not be the right thing, we hedge our every fucking step. Drive giant tank SUVs so we can walk away from unforeseen disasters, watch picture-in-picture televisions so we don’t miss what’s on the other channels. We do not like the unknown, we guard against every possible contingency. We assume any choice might be the wrong one, so we don’t choose anything, really. We do not trust the world around us. We do not trust ourselves. We have seldom been asked to do so by the current administration. We’ve been asked instead to be afraid, and then we were told outright, over and over, that we must be afraid. And as if there wasn’t enough in the real world to fear, they invented and hyped new stuff and force fed it to us, straight into our lizard brain.
And we sucked on it.
So here we are. There are plenty of us, including Clinton voters and for that matter, Republicans and Independents, who are weary and beat down and ready for change. The thing is, people want the change to be quantifiable and recognizable, they want to know what they are getting into before they jump. They want their change to look familiar and welcoming, and above all, safe. And if possible, easy.
The thing is, we are miles past that being able to happen. We are so far past safe and easy that it would take the light from safe and easy decades and decades to reach us. Taking our country back is not going to be safe and it certainly isn’t going to be easy and it’s going to take a long time.
We need inspiration to make those changes, not fear. We need leaders that make us feel bigger, stronger, not useless and insignificant. There are valid, time-honored uses for incantation and ritual, for what some call preaching and prayer, for inspiration.
This is not some romantic, kool-aid influenced daydream, nor is it business as usual. The time for either of those is past.
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