Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama - The Talk of the Town

Barack Obama - the toast of the intelligentsia from Malibu to Hollywood.

I used to find his oratory impressive and commanding, his message of hope persuasive and compelling.

Now I find my attention to his rhetoric wanes with every repetitive exhortation for change. Independents seeking political satisfaction come away frustrated with what they see as "Obama Lite:" the supposed anti-politician pandering to the voters, short on details, flexible on principles.

Why this metamorphosis? Has Obama really gone from being a scintillating intellectual powerhouse to a manipulative rabble-rouser? From being the Messianic harbinger of inspired change to a purveyor of Machiavellian politics as usual, intent on winning at all costs?

With a few Athenian exceptions, human societies have normally been led by controlling minorities that define directions and policies for the whole. One generally finds good and just people on the one hand or authoritarians and extremists on the other, all passionately and actively dictating positive or negative pathways for the passive majority to follow.

Either way the majority at the center gets swayed, whether by persuasion or by fear. Either way those leaders with the requisite charisma to inspire crowds, with enough power to motivate individuals, move the populace to their side, interjecting their beliefs along the way. Whether Kennedy or Hitler, Moses or Mao Tse Tung, Lincoln or Stalin, the psychology of conformity, of adoration, often remains the same.

The middle majority inevitably seeks answers to the unanswerable, to the incomprehensible, to their particularly insecure future. It desires hope and faith with which to fill the void, and in its fear and angst this majority latches on to any and all guarantees that posit positive change, that promise the actualization of their fantasies. It is here in this fertile ground that Obama feels most comfortable, working his genius, hugely negative about the recent past, spreading his limitless optimism for the future.

Our election zeitgeist is one of political immaturity and immediate gratification, one of self-indulgence and needy egocentricity. The limitations imposed by reality, by likely sacrifice and realpolitik, by needed compromise and tough planning for the unknown - these are all anathema to the majority. They all fade into irrelevance besides the soaring rhetoric of promised change, change that Obama assures us he will usher in, come November, at the start of his "Golden Era."

Do we, as the emperor's newly blessed children, follow the allure of Obama's sweet candy floss, his endless toffee apple; or do we visit the ever unpopular dentist? Do we as adults confront our enemies and balance the budget? Do we plan and make the necessary sacrifices, accepting pain now, as Joseph did in biblical Egypt, to survive the future's likely seven lean years?

"Bush's Third Term" - The Wall Street Journal:

Published on The Absurd Report:

1 comment:

Joseph Puder said...

Dear Leslie:

Excellent, I love it!

This piece gets to the heart of the matter, and were it not for Obama's "blackness" and White Guilt, he would be considered an arrogant upstart by the drive-by media.

Read my piece on Obama in the Front Page Magazine: