Monday, 26 January 2009

Is it 'WE' or Obama who is the one?

Written in the run up to an historic election...
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Political parties tempt the voters - 'we the people' - with lip service that pulls at our individual heart strings and plays to the masses. They say the words they know will pull us, sway us to them – without completing any pictures that would lead us to the realisation that what they are offering, is small change compared to the status quo they wish to impose.

Throughout history our parties have made offerings to the people that would make fools of our ideals and hopes, our dreams and faith in their ability to actually be honest for once and make a clear promise, then carry it out without caveat. They make a right move in our eyes in the right direction – we follow because it feels like they are doing what we wanted all along – and before long we discover that the one step on the right road is accompanied by diversions that will keep us from a right solution for as long as the term dictates.

Then next elections we aim to find a voice that will make a promise that we can believe in, that will take more than one step in the right direction, that will have a map with no diversions. The next elections deja vu the last and over time we lose belief, cling to hope and go with what looks like the least diversions-to-right-step ratio – or we stop voting.

Obama has promised change, has offered to step in the right direction and take us down his path of right if only we will follow. He has pushed the right buttons, said the right words, sweated the right passion and he has moved us. Is he 'the one'?

I don't think that it matters if he is or he isn't.

Maybe this time it isn't about the politicians, it's about us.
Maybe this time it isn't about politics, it's about the movement.

The fact that we have watched a woman and a black man battle for supremacy on a traditionally white male stage, the fact that passion played a role, the fact that the internet meant politics found its way further, faster and more varied than ever before and the fact that I feel impassioned and compelled to write these things about a stale and often evil subject – are facts that attach true hope to my belief that there is a better way to manage ourselves than the way politics has.

In all I have digested of the Obama that is presented, I still don't know how I feel about him or what I believe about him. There is much to choose from on the media menu of Obamas; much unpalatable, some tempting and others simply a mash of confusion with something-for-everyone flavours infused.

But the media menu of political choices offers something more than before, it offers unexpected extras that include a whole swathe of people finding points of agreement despite their backgrounds, other opinions or differences. If finds people finding a sameness of desire – we want anything other than the usual. We don't want to play it safe, we want to play it different. Turn us around, switch direction, stuff the assumed right ways and lets blunder into an uncharted wilderness of it-can't-be-as-bad-as-where-we've-been.

Obama is whatever it is we wanted him to be – he is not one thing, one direction or one party – he is the reflection of our longing for change. Who he becomes as a leader is a different subject. What he stirred in us is powerful and if we can find a way to harness that power, maybe 'we the people' can start to realise just how much we can change - regardless of the politicians.
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