Dream Country

by matttbastard 

“Hope is what I saw in the eyes of the folks going to caucus last night… . If you ware willing to reach for what you know in your gut is possible. If you believe, as I believe, that we have to reach out and give the next generation the same chances that somebody gave us, if you believe in keeping the dream alive for those who still hunger for opportunity and still thirst for justice, then I am absolutely convinced that we will win the New Hampshire primary in four days.” 

 - Barack Obama, from a campaign rally in Portsmouth, N.H., 01.04.08 

I left the humans that very day, to spread the good news. And now I travel from place to place. I have walked for leagues beyond measure. I have starved, sometimes, and often I have been hurt. But I have walked on.

In a metal machine I crossed the cold waters. I have preached to solitary feral cars in empty places. I have shouted my message to the stars from rooftops and whispered it to dying cats in alleyways.

I have spoken to one cat, and to many. And wherever I have gone, my message is the same…

Dream it!

Dream the world. Not this pallid shadow of reality. Dream the world the way it truly is. A world in which all cats are queens and kings of creation. That is my message.

- Neil Gaiman, A Dream of a Thousand Cats (Sandman #18)

Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa this past Thursday–and that wonderful, spine-chilling speech–seems to have instilled quite a lot of hope within so many–“resonance”, as my friend Gary Farber put it over @ Obsidian Wings.

As displayed by his caucus performance, Obama really connects with disparate groups of people. His appeal defies–obliterates–demographics, with youth, women, and white independent midwesterners all coming together in enthusiastic support.  And then there are so-called ‘Obama Republicans’ like Andrew Sullivan, who believes that Obama could turn out to be “the Reagan of the Left”, a transformational figure who could “do to conservatism what Reagan did to liberalism” in 1980: give it a well-deserved “shellacking.”

Obama also seems to hold great respect for the Executive Office and American democracy, as displayed by the almost reverential manner in which he refers to both within his speeches. In contrast, the current resident-in-chief, with his willfully indifferent scorn and disregard for the Constitution and the Rule of Law, appears entirely possessed by partisan contempt for everything that is supposed to make America ‘America’, to the detriment of the nation both domestically and globally. I really believe that, fundamental policy and ideological differences aside, an Obama presidency would be healing, a symbolic catalyst that could help unify a world still desperately seeking post-9/11 (and post-November 2000) closure.

Above all, Obama is the first truly presidential candidate in years, someone who seems entirely comfortable and confident in the role for all the right reasons. Not because he harbours a lust for power, a pathological need to make it to the top no matter what; but out of a genuine sense of resposibility and civic duty: because serving the public is the right thing to do. That refressing ingenuousness touches something in people, melts away well-deserved cynicism hardened by years of politics-as-usual.

Resonance. 

Hope. HOPE! A dream can still transform a world consumed by darkness, “this pallid shadow of reality.”

“Dream the world the way it truly is.”

More from Atrios and Kevin Drum, who, though still somewhat skeptical, are both beginning to sense something big may be happening.

(Expanded from a comment @ Politics’n’Poetry.)

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2 Responses to Dream Country

  1. As I have said elsewhere, it is not so much about dreaming any longer, it’s about making the dream a reality. I like that. A lot!

  2. Daev says:

    I really do like Obama as a person, and I think he is genuinely committed to civic duty, as you note. However, I’ve become so very cynical about USian politics that it’s difficult for me to throw my weight behind one candidate or another, even if I get a truly good impression from them. Kucinich blew me away with his pro-Ron Paul attitude and lack of anti-racist policy statements, and Obama isn’t quite as vicious with corporatist globalization and the war on terror sham as I’d like him to be. But is he an improvement, a breath of fresh air? Oh my yes.

    Bang on with labeling Obama the first truly “Presidential” candidate in a long time. He has the knack, that one. Let’s see what he can do with it.

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