On the issues, I like that he is transparent. He wants transparency in government. He is transparent about his life, even when it's not adventageous (like discussing his past drug use), and in politics, even when it ticks off establishment dems and repubs alike. I like that he opposed the war from the beginning (as did I) and he took that position long before it was popular. He didn't do it to benefit himself, and it could have easily been to his own demise. He doesn't just take positions because of his ambitions.
I like that Obama thinks government is for the people, that it won't work unless all of us stand up and make it happen. He believes in the American People. As misanthropic as I've been sometimes, I do believe that if every child had an opportunity, they would flourish. Right now, so many kids don't. And we only care about them when they're kids (if you call our current foster system 'caring') once they're adults we expect them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps at age 19, childhood be damned.
I like Obama because he knows that when challenged by a major catastrophe, that we (the american people) want to DO something (besides shopping). The book, "Downsizing Democracy" I think paints beautifully the problem with our current 'democratic' system and disconnect gov't has (and wants to continue to have) from the people. Establishment politicians act as if they don't need us. They act as if it's all explained by apathy, the whole generation me thing. And it's bullshit. I'm 27. I always felt like I was born too late. I looked back at the civil rights movement and feminist movement and I felt like I missed 'it'.
My first year of graduate school, I had this wondeful social theory course, and it was exactly what you'd probably imagine. A room full of young idealistic (yet ironically misanthropic) grad students arguing Habermas and Schutz and trying to solve all of the worlds problems in our tiny little seminar room. One day, I walked up to the board, and I wrote, "We're the one's we've been waiting for". I had read the quote the day before, and it gave me chills. And it gave everyone in the class chills. This was right after the Dems lost the 2004 election, and in hindsight, I can't believe I was that optimistic. Today, that is an Obama campaign slogan.
So anyway, I don't think the American people are delusional to support Obama, that we're all mindless zombies. Obamamania. That's the current narrative they're pushing. Obama has tapped into a social movement, one many in my generation have been itching for for a very long time.
And on a personal front, for somebody as hopeless as I have been since I lost Myles, I think it really says something for Obama that he can still bring that sense of hope back for even me. From an atheistic standpoint, I can no longer account for what that feeling is, what drives it, what is at it's base (I don't think it's utilitarianism), but simply to have it well up inside of me again, it makes me believe that I can find it in me again someday down the road in my little world, when I'm ready for another baby, another great hope.
"The setting of a great hope is like the setting of the sun. The brightness of our life is gone."
I think the sun might rise again for me, and I think it might rise again for our country. And, I hate to do it again, but I've got to post that Obama quote one more time:
"But we always knew that hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it."