Recently I saw this catchy phrase on one of my friends’ facebook status (where else eh?) and it got me thinking. Mr. Obama certainly has got some major hype surrounding him and appears to be the focus of a lot of attention right now.
His presidential rallies have the feel of rock concerts and his appeal among the young and dynamic seems universal. This has been the most spotlighted presidential race in the world so far and most of the spotlight seems to have been so far, on him. A self proclaimed prophet of change like him would obviously generate a lot of attention and that is all very well, but how much of his promised change is substantial fact and figure and how much has just been created by his charismatic persona alone?
Some say it’s the very image of Obama that makes him such a beacon-focus. He’s Black, his parents are immigrants and he embodies the very opposite in what has been the general American presidential stereotype. So when Obama promises change, everybody believes him because Obama embodies change. He is probably going to be the most different American president in history. But does ‘difference’ actually mean ‘change’? Or does it mean just a superficial change for a seemingly superficial difference?
On the other hand if threats to a candidate’s security are any indication of his/her potential for revolutionary status quo overturning change, then Mr. Obama seems to have a lead there over anyone else. He was the first to accept secret service protection last year long before it is offered to most presidential candidates, because of unspecified threats. But talks of threats to the life of a candidate leads to uncomfortable talk of assassination and incidentally Hilary Clinton succeeded in angering Obama supporters when she tactlessly brought up the Bobby Kennedy assassination to indicate (of all things under the sun) how unpredictable a nomination race is.
Now on a more ominous note, let us look at two previous democrats John F. Kennedy and his younger brother Robert. Both were assassinated for reasons for the explanation of which various conspiracy theories have been put forward. But both had a cult following born of their charisma and inspiring rhetoric both, context shows us, were strong agents for change.
Anyone who really thinks the US of A is solely ruled by the president and no other probably needs to get to their nearest clinic to get a reality check. Sure there is congress and the rest of the politicos but the large American corporates have a bigger part to play than their low profile in politics might indicate. Lobby groups aside, presidential campaign funds don’t totally come from small time donors. And if and when a particular candidate comes into power he will be expected to repay these donors by granting them political favors. Not democratic? Well of course not, how can democracy be democracy when it is commercialized and there is good money at stake. Money invested almost always means interest in getting a benefit out of that investment and even if that benefit might mean just a ‘better place to live in’ for small time donors it could hardly mean the same for the big –time corporate who contributes in the millions.
If Barrack Obama is such an agent for revolutionary change as most of his supporters seem to think, then that change would have to be the same plans on the agenda of the corporate and the other power players in the American political scene for it to have any success in implementation. So far, all we have seen from the man is brilliant rhetoric and little evidence of his actual plans for change, a fact that even his followers seem to agree with.