Change happens..

Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. (Martin Luther King)

Early on in the Democratic Primary campaign, I said there was a longing for change in the American society. If I give you samples less than a year old, you may be as surprised as I am, at how many things have already manifestly changed since then.

The most obvious: Everybody including the White House and John McCain is now talking about a timetable for Iraq withdrawal.

President Bush in June (some six weeks ago):

“There should be no definitive timetable,” Bush was quoted as saying. “I am confident that (British Prime Minister Brown), like me, will listen to our commanders to make sure that the sacrifices that have gone forward won’t be unraveled by drawdowns that may not be warranted at this point in time.”

And now?

[…] the Decider says he is now amenable to a “time horizon,” which apparently is a whole different kind of time thing — not at all like the sensible course of action that Democrats and other critics of the Iraq occupation have been demanding.

John McCain’s 100 years if necessary have been widely reported. As recently as July 17th Reuters reported this:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Thursday ridiculed Democrat Barack Obama’s vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 16 months as a political tactic aimed at getting votes.

And now?

“I think it’s a pretty good timetable,”

Short and concise and what a change!

In July 2007 Hillary Clinton said according to the LA Times blog:

[But] I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings with the likes of Chavez and Castro and Ahmadinejad.”

and her minions:

Clinton forces pounced, saying it showed he was naive and unprepared to lead the country. In contrast, they said, Clinton’s answer demonstrated she had the strength and experience to be commander in chief. ( full story)

The GOP couldn’t have agreed more and argued similarly. On July 16, reports came in that a United States official was taking part in the Geneva talks with Iran on the latter’s nuclear ambitions.

A senior United States official is taking part for the first time in international talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

The official, William Burns, is joining envoys from the EU and permanent members of the UN security council.

Their talks with top Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili were expected to focus on incentives for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment.

Mr Burns’ attendance is being seen as a major shift in US policy.(emphasis added)

I have never before seen a campaign, and I am old enough to have followed a few across the pond both ways, where a likely candidate has induced major policy shifts by a sitting lame duck administration.

But, that is only on the outside, the shift goes deeper. Again a very obvious one, Barack Obama is the first African American to be a candidate in a Presidential election, whom many people seriously consider to vote for. Moreover, groups in your society, who never before have actively taken part in the political process are still registering to vote, even after the first hype is over. A twelve months ago mostly unknown politician has managed to outraise and outspend all of the inside-the-beltway-old-washingtonian-lobbyist-financed political machinery of one of the most influential political families. Funded by people like you, not like Abramoff. This is a resounding slap in the face of the old ways. Furthermore, and this may be “small change” if you will, hasn’t Nancy Pelosi for the first time not stepped down on an impeachment hearing? True, without the tenacity of Dennis Kucinich this wouldn’t have happened, but there is a changed political atmosphere, too, which made that possible. Americans are not taking no for an answer anymore. Did you hear much talk about that gas-tax holiday, recently? And did the discussion about drilling in ANWR somehow ring hollow? Do all of those business-as-usual political spats sound well-rehearsed-going-through-the-motions soundbites?

It is the Americans, who have changed and Obama’s candidacy is the focal point for and the result of this change. The US are about to arrive in the 21st century. The candidacy of Barack Obama is not due to an irrational wish for a messianic figure, as some want to make believe for obvious reasons. It is the manifestation of the voter’s will to vote for a different kind of politics. A sizeable number of Americans have eschewed the old way politics were done and are prepared to risk something new. This is their change, not Obama’s, and they mean to pull this through and some.

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One thought on “Change happens..

  1. Thanks for the nice essay, EV.

    While I do believe that there has been ongoing evolution of the American psyche, I do not believe there is a rapid shift. The rapidness of the apparent change is illusory – more a reflection of the transient political environment.

    20% of the electorate are insane. Well, maybe that’s overstating it a bit, but certainly their thinking processes don’t match anything I can comprehend or relate to. These are the implacable nutjobs that post their neofascist hate on blogs. Another 10%-15% are more reasonable as human beings, but so fundamentally conservative as to be nearly impossible to vote more progressively.

    I don’t think there is any change of any kind among this right wing core group, and as far as I can tell, there never will be. I’m going to guess a similarly intransigent group lives on the left side of the scale.

    The remaining 30%-35% float with the political wind. There are many planks for both parties that they don’t particularly like. Perhaps they agree with the free market philosophy associated with Republicans, but do not like their social conservatism or militarism. Perhaps they agree with Democrats that the environment requires serious protection, but they don’t trust the government to run health care. These people hold their noses on election day and pick what seems to them as the least noxious option.

    In 2000, after the relentless multi-year attack of the right wing and their bigmouthed cohorts on the radio, against Bill Clinton and “libruls”, these people in the middle kind of caved in to the pressure. To my mind, the seminal event (if the pun can be excused) was the Clinton affair (pun again, sorry) culminating in Bubba looking Americans square in the face and lying through his teeth. It’s not that his “crime” was so god-awful terrible, but that his weasily manner and bald-faced lying just neatly summed up everything the right had been preaching for years. To the unwary, it made the Right look they’d been right all along.

    So, Gore lost in 2000 due to Clinton fatigue. Okay, actually he won, but really if it had not been soooo close, the Florida issue would not have mattered, and it would not have been so close had the country not been sick to death of Bill Clinton’s randy penis.

    The fresh new president Dubya was well on the way to becoming the national joke we know him to be, when he was saved by Al Queda. Thanks to bin Laden, Bush was virtually assured re-election in 2004 as fear became such a powerful weapon that many of those folks in the middle opted to listen to the propaganda and to keep the petty tyrant in place.

    We’re now shifting back toward some kind of normalcy. In my view, the neocon era has been an aberration brought on by a big dick from the hills of Arkansas together with a big dick from the hills of Afghanistan, powered by Big Dick in the White House and ushered along by many tiny dicks in the fake radio and TV media.

    Not that there hasn’t been real change and real progress, but it’s been slow and steady over the decades, and we’re in danger at every moment from another attack of the loonies.

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