Placing our hope in Obama's ability to change himself is precisely the problem. The Democratic Party has already been destroyed from within. We voted for Obama because we wanted to believe that the possibilities that once seemed so real were still alive. Obama skillfully packaged this longing while being savvy enough to know whom he actually served. Many progressives, on the other hand, chose to cling to our illusions that genuine social change was possible under the current power structure and the shattering of our illusions accounts for the bitterness of so many progressive articles about Obama.
It feels like we're locked in our seats on a train flying like a bullet toward a new age of slavery and superstition. If the only political options were the ones recognized by the American political system, then perhaps the despair shown by many progressives would be justified. But I don't believe it is.
There are alternative political possibilities, but to realize them the first step is to abandon the obsessive focus on Obama. The roots of this crisis go a lot deeper than the lack of leadership of one man, even the president.
The focus on the failures of the Democratic Party masks a continued faith in the American system. Some of us believe that the American people are great enough to reinvent their system of government and that is exactly what's currently needed: to recognize that the system of government founded 200 years ago was flawed in ways that can no longer be fixed and to accept the challenge of creating a new system of government based on fulfilling human needs and recreating a flourishing human and natural ecology.
Jan 23 2010 - 11:02am