I hold my hands up, surrender, and admit that I caught the bug.
Obama taking to the stage at the DNC, crown drawn a ragged grey thanks to a constant battle with a Republican congress, was damn inspiring.
Now, I’m as cynical as the next man, and as a journalist, bound by the rules of my trade to speak truth to power where possible, a steely offense is often the best medicine for political saccharine.
That means not taking the words of politicians at face value, eyeing the mainstream media with a constant wariness, seeking truth where it might be found, and delivering opinion based on fact.
I’m from a generation that came of age during the worst economic downturn of recent history, in a time of movements seeking to remove themselves from the demagogic shadow of political oratory, and amongst the threat of Islamic extremism and their corresponding retaliatory wars that became the ‘Vietnam’ of our age.
There’s little doubt that government is to blame here – the US in particular. Then why such optimism in the face of overwhelming evidence against such a feeling?
How is it possible? It’s incredible, that bleary-eyed emotive passion that so many Democrats can easily carry over to an audience. It may not be the best policy, it may not be the greatest good for the greatest number, but it makes for good entertainment.
Maybe it was watching Elizabeth Warren, senatorial candidate for Massachusetts, stand up and struggle to control the baying crowds who began chanting her name after she announced that this, the 2012 DNC, was her first convention.
She’s everything that a politician should be, and is a testament to how democracy ought to work on a national scale. She climbed up through the ranks from a lower-middle class family to the heights of Harvard, and is a founding mother to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – a watchdog the U.S. mortgage and credit market have been crying out for since deregulation hit its stride under Clinton and Greenspan.
On an intensely political note, Warren, alongside columnist Paul Krugman, is the most prestigious and sincere voice from the American hinterland that fundamentally disagrees with the socialization of debt – the idea that government ought to catch big business when it fails as catastrophically as it did in 2007, the poorest portions of society made to pay dearly for the gambles of the greedy.
This is the kind of achievement that we want to see – not Romney’s version of success: vicious bribery and tax-dodging. Perhaps he could earn his ‘Patriot’ badge when he retracts the notion that outsourcing the lowest paid jobs, and cutting taxes for the richest 1% is the way forward.
But Warren overcame to deliver a measured but passionate speech, her own back-story giving some serious weight as a contender against the Republican political elites born in to the ruling game.
“No Governor Romney,” she says, “corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, the cry, they dance, they live, they love and they die. And that matters.”
She’s right, it does matter.
But once all the red, white, and blue balloons have fallen gently, the ticker tape brushed away from the stadium floor, Obama and his graying crown has boarded the bus for what will be his last campaign, there’s a strange sensation left over.
Underneath the spite we may have for our opponents, the elation we might feel for our candidate scaling the greatest propaganda contest the world has ever known, or our pride in the ability to turn to those around you and say “that’s my leader!”, there’s something that niggles.Underneath the deep cynicism that we politically-minded hold dear, there is a bizarre hope that the haloed, megaphone-brandishing elite may – just may – do what they promised.
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