Michele and I were working on the Obama primary campaign making phone calls into Iowa. We believed that Obama was the Change We Need and we were Who We Have Been Waiting For. We believed that one man could change the trajectory of the country, could change the world. This year, we watched the Republicans play a strange game of musical chairs – or last man standing, or something – where each and every candidate – except Huntsman who is probably conservative enough but not pissed at Obama enough – rises to be the top runner over poor, hapless, Willard Romney1 and then sinks back into relative obscurity.
There was a time, last year, when I was pretty down over the presidency being over Obama’s head, over his detachment, over the job that Obama is doing, and I am still disappointed but I have stopped looking to him to be the answer. I think that he is a better than average president, but not the game changer we thought we so desperately needed. Still, for me, this year seems strangely hopeful.2
I don’t think that government is going to solve Global Climate Change – shit! the Federal government might not even really admit it exists until the seas rise above the streets of downtown Manhattan – but change seems to be bubbling up. From states and cities. From the private sector. And we are going to adjust to the new, more intense, weather. My biggest disappointment is that we are trashing our education system – at one time not too long ago, California’s higher education system was the best in the world and almost free – and that sucks and is unbelievably short sighted (with no “but”). Still, while our country has become unbelievably unequal, the 99% live pretty well compared to almost any place and any time in history.
Our health care is a mess – except for people like me who have single payer, commy, health care – unless you are rich, but the real problems are really how we eat and how we act and that may be changing. Or not. One thing that I think that I learned from watching Obama during the last – almost – five years is how entrenched the system is. It is much more difficult to bring about change today than it was during Roosevelt’s time; maybe because the special interests are stronger – the barnacle theory – maybe because Bush handed off the economy to Obama too early in the cycle so he ended up sharing the blame unlike Roosevelt who came in after three disastrous years.
And I am strangely hopeful, Still.
1 Who, when Wolf Blitzer said his real name is Wolf, couldn’t resist saying that Mitt was his real name also. The poor sad-sack can’t help but lie when it doesn’t even help him.
2 Maybe just because I feel better about myself and am projecting it out on the country.