Saturday, March 1, 2008

Big Meal for Thought

One of my New Year's resolutions was to become more politically conscious, and I'm proud to say I feel as though I have.

I came across some SNL-related back and forth about Hillary and Obama which got me thinking about a bunch of things.

Obama preaches a message of hope and change. The 'change' element reminds me of a children's piece I co-wrote in which a political party campaigns for a non-specific "change". I wonder if there isn't a democratic nation in the world in which a new candidate obliquely promoting change wouldn't be able to gather plenty of support. "Change", it seems, always has the conotation of "embetterment," and that's something that most people want. Obviously any of the candidates, if elected, would bring some degree of change.

But what Obama wants to change is not just what is being done, but also how it is being done. The system is flawed and though Sen. Clinton (and maybe even McCain) would doubtless do good for this country, she would do it within and by means of a flawed system of politics, one that I agree must change.

Obama's professional history reminds me a bit of my dad's personal history.

Growing up, whenever I did something bad or disrespectful, my dad would say "I never did that when I was a kid." After a while, I began doubting that he ever could have been such a golden child. So I asked my grandma, who confirmed his stories. "No," she told me, "your dad was pretty much a good kid." Well, I was stuck. I was held to the same impeccable standard at which my father lived his life, which was impossible, yes, but overall encouraging. Had my father been more slack as a child, I too would probably have not felt guilty about doing worse things. And the fact is, my father is still the honorable, respectful "golden child" he was in his youth. Generally, good people remain good people. Generally.

This is why I buy into Obama's rhetoric about the war in Iraq, about the way he runs a clean campaign, and why I don't buy those who say, "Sure, but once he gets into office, it'll just be politics as usual." It has never been politics as usual with him, so why should it ever be?

Finally, I hate to make this analogy (recovering Catholic as I am) but it occured to me today that religious conservatives might get something out of this argument (assuming, quite generously, of course, that religious conservatives are logical and intelligent people...) -- either that or they'll think this blasphemy:

There was another prominent, young figure who sought to change the system - who preached a message of hope, peace, and prosperity for the poorest among us. He was an outsider, a hippy, but also a popular "rockstar" of his day. And the system he fought against crucified him because of it. The same type of system that is now being run by his supposed "followers."

Anyway. Food for thought.

2 comments:

Kim said...

Thank you, Brett, for always saying with such eloquence what's on my mind.

Timmy P said...

Obama has had 1 year of "experience" in the Senate. In that one year, he has had unlimited exposure to foreign policy, he has not had his name attached to any meaningful piece of legislation, and he has spent the majority of it preparing to run for president. Why was this year not spent "changing" government like he has promised to do as a president? Truthfully, if I'd vote for Hillary if I were a Democrat. At least she has experience and has attempted to change Healthcare (although she failed). Just a thought. Hope you're good Shitface.