I, like many of you, have been thinking a lot about the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. Unlike many, I still remain independent and undecided.
Through my experience, attempting to sift through the current barrage of fluff and political sound bites, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. In this
thread I’d like to examine what I see as the phenomenon of “The War on Hope”.
I’m sure that some will be tempted to turn this into a left/right debate; however, I really
don’t want this to be a pro-Obama/anti-McCain
thread. Please leave partisan bickering at the door. To me the candidates themselves
are irrelevant when it comes to the issue at hand. As far
as I’m concerned, any candidate could have taken the “hope initiative”, and all
parties are quite capable of mudslinging.
Quite awhile back I had the pleasure of viewing a BBC documentary entitled The Power of Nightmares
. It was an excellent three part
series (you can find it on Google Video), and the intro commentary had a message that really struck a chord with me. I’d like to quote that intro
In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the
optimistic visions they offered their people. Those dreams failed, and today people have lost faith in ideologies.
Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life, but now they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority.
Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we
cannot see and do not understand...
The series goes on to attempt an objective view of the “War on Terror” from its early roots to present day; however, I feel the intro captures the
essence of what I see as a “War on Hope”. One of the latest warning signs I see is the current use of the title “Messiah” as a political slur.
Again, this isn’t a left/right issue; I’ve seen its use from both the left (Hillary supporters), and the right (McCain supporters).
Personally, I don’t view “Messiah” as an attack against Obama, per se
, but more as an attack against hope; one who had the audacity to
attempt to disarm the inherent “power of nightmares” status quo. I honestly believe that anyone, from any
party, with enough steam behind
them, would have been labeled “seeing themselves as such” for attempting to bring back visions of hope into mainstream national politics.
Are we, as a nation, so jaded that the notion of hope has merely become a punch line? Is fear the only way to effectively lead a nation in today’s
world? Does anyone else see a “War on Hope” occurring?
[edit on 8/21/08 by redmage]