If Obama Were My New Bicycle

Jul 24th, 2008 | By | Category: 2008

Obama’s post-clinching pander-fest should improve his electoral prospects November. So goes the prevailing pundit logic, at least.

Well, did it?

From FiveThirtyEight:

For the first time since shortly after clinching the Democratic nomination, we now have Barack Obama as less than a 60 percent favorite to win the election. Our simulations presently project Obama to win the election 58.4 percent of the time, with McCain winning the remaining 41.6 percent.

If I am to think well of Americans, and by extension well of our future, I would believe this is because we’re finally ready to hear the dark, ugly truth that we already know. Things are bad. They’re likely to get worse. We have a narrow, and narrowing, path by which we can make the situation better. I want to believe the electorate finally wants a leader who is willing to publicly acknowledge reality–that our economy, our health, our intelligence, our status in the world and our lives are not even close to the ideal, that the whole of our global civilization is teetering on a crumbling foundation.

In my dreams, that were once my hopes for Obama, he’d be giving speeches with clear, bold statements like:
“As we fret about increases in energy and food prices, we must remember that what is a price increase for us, represents starvation for other people around the world. People with empty stomachs, uncertain of their next meal, are prone to terrifying acts. It’s long been said that democracies do not have famines. This statement cuts both ways. Those pained with hunger and want are incapable of participating in the, once growing, community of self-governance. We wonder why some in the world are furious with us. Want.”

“Our entire fossil-fueled civilization is unsustainable, in the literal sense of the world. Unsustainable is not synonymous with undesirable or far from the ideal. It means, if we do not change our ways, this all will come to an end, sooner rather than later.”

“We must stop looking for someone else to solve our problems. None of the challenges we face are insurmountable. But all will cost us in the short-term. We will either be willing to sacrifice some now, so that we can exist as a society in the future, or greedily slide into ever-increasing decline and despair.”

I want to believe this, that Obama could do this and not become Walter Mondale. McCain isn’t exactly Mr. Morning in America. Both McCain and Obama seem weary of claiming things are wonderful, and getting ever more wonderful with every passing moment. McCain, while tangentially acknowledging the ugly truth, offers more of the same–Low-tax conservatism, doubling down.

Obama could finally be the other, the Mondale, McGovern or Robert Kennedy who survives and wins. And if he couldn’t, don’t we deserve the fate that awaits us?