Obama’s Siren Song
Speech is music; lyrical, rhythmic, seductive. It transcends culture, class, race, gender and even political parties. It engages us intellectually, viscerally, emotionally; it dances with us, romances us and ultimately, as it’s designed to do, it fu*ks with us.
In passionate oration, it becomes a harmonic sermon; it becomes gospel, a crooning, messianic anthem akin to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”
Words, when melodiously delivered, moves people. When sung at the right tone and to a warm and welcoming audience, words have the capacity to pierce through commonsensical thought, values and behavior. It has the capability to make you act against your will. It has the power to make somebody do something that is not always agreeable.
I admit it. I fell for Obama’s vocals, hook, line and sinker. No need to list the policy betrayals that have disillusioned me since, everyday brings new ones. I should have stayed put, remained true to core beliefs that what this country needs are more political parties. But no, I listened intently to his siren calls, strayed and now I, like millions of others who trusted him are relegated to the political sidelines once again.
So, it’s time to get over it, sooner rather than later. Regroup, strategize and seek-out genuine leadership. It’s time to find and fund progressive professionals, not political actors incapable (or unwilling) of acting on their principles and promises. It’s time to recruit at the local grassroots level, intent on distancing ourselves from the entrenched self-serving national Democratic political establishment. It’s time for a change (where have I heard that before?). It’s time to support candidates only after they’ve passed a progressive litmus test; preferably in writing; on videotape – and if I had my way, in blood. Pass or fail; no exceptions. Pass, you get funded and supported. Fail, we get your first born and your left kidney; your right one no doubt withered and worthless from pissing away anything useful.
There are lessons to be learned from Obama infatuation. One can appreciate, even admire charismatic attributes but we can no longer afford to seriously consider a candidate’s style over substance; marketing over management skills. We have to become a discriminating electorate. We have to demand public policy over politics – leadership over appeasement – qualifications over credentials – honesty over thinly veiled corporate corruption.
Tomorrow, I’ll turn my attention to finding somebody worth supporting; somebody capable of differentiating between political and musical notes; somebody with the power to galvanize progressive voices, not music.
In the interim, I’ll cuddle up on a soft couch, next to my softer, wiser and arguably more politically astute wife (she only votes for compassionate, business savvy women), with my Rhodesian Ridgebacks at my feet, a good book in one hand and a shot glass of Cuervo Gold near the other. I’ll turn on the stereo, listen to some orchestral (no more vocals for me) compositions and purge away the musical renderings of Obama-speak.