Sunday, March 02, 2008

Rising Above Political Cynicism

I heard a guy on talk radio recently discussing the political cynicism rampant in the media. A case in point, he said, was how George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts, and George Will laughed uproariously last Sunday on This Week about a woman who said that every time she and her husband thought about going out to dinner, they contributed $80 to Barack Obama's campaign. The ABC panelists thought it was ridiculous for common folk like us to be so engaged in politics, and, argued the talk show host, this attitude poisons efforts to wrest political power away from corporations and individual fat cats and invest it in the people.

I believe that this talk radio host may have a point and that maybe, just maybe, what we should do about it is tune out the so-called "pundits" of mainstream media and refuse to let their cynicism dampen our resolve to get the candidate of our choice elected to carry out our political will.

The radio host brought up a related point in his discussion. He said that Republicans and other Obama detractors were citing the amazing degree of enthusiastic popular support going to Obama as reason to view him with suspicion and even to vote against him. Anyone THAT popular, or so the argument goes, must be some kind of dangerous demagogue (or even Anti-Christ) poised to lead us over a cliff. Hillary made a similar point last week when she mockingly spoke of perceiving Obama as a messianic figure preparing to part the clouds and invoke political miracles. In other words, even if it wasn't necessarily dangerous to get excited by Obama's candidacy, it was certainly naive to do so.

I agree that we shouldn't become so enamored with any politician's personality, oratory, or popularity that we abandon all critical perspective or reasoned analysis, but I nevertheless think that one can allow oneself to become energized by excitement and hopefulness about Obama without doing that, and I'd like to think that a good many Obama supporters, Gagdad Bob's psychodynamic and theological analysis nothwithstanding, fall into that category.

2 comments:

Night Stranger said...

Steve, you said it!

I said it too on my blog yesterday, almost the very same, and today I am just hoping it goes our way. We may not know for several days.

Nagarjuna said...

Night Stranger, the nomination still seems to be very much up in the air and will likely remain so until the convention and its superdelegates make the final determination. In the meantime, I hope that we common folk won't let Cokie Roberts and her cynical like discourage us from supporting Obama or anyone else we want elected to high office.