Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Monday, May 19, 2008


We forgot to take a camera to Portland's Obama rally today, but fortunately the press took a picture of us -- see, there we are finding a little bit of shade. We stayed for 20 minutes, catching very-occasional glimpses between strangers' heads of a small blue shirt which seemed to be about a mile away. They say that with 75,000 attendees this was more than double the size of any previous Obama rally. (An interesting fact to juxtapose is that Portland is supposedly the whitest major U.S. city.)

Although I think this man will probably become president even though his platform is almost entirely toxic, I didn't feel anything about the rally. The ominous thing to me is not that the pendulum is swinging to the left (it's gotta swing somewhere), but that popular politics are so a-rational. "Belief", "hope", and "change" are just plain vacuous. Is this intellectual void rooted in some aversion to cognition in politics? Why not depict a campaign with catchwords related to socialism, pacifism, environmentalism, and abortion rights if that's what you're itchin' for? (If the issue is just that such words don't fit on hand-held signs and bumper stickers, I have an idea: make an acronym out of them, then have seventy-five thousand people chanting "SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR!" under Portland's long-lost sun.)

Or are campaigns so vague because superficiality is the only way to amass majority support? Because everyone disagrees about any position much less watered-down than "war is bad" or "health care is good"? Perhaps this contentiousness explains why W turned out to be exactly what he said he was, yet somehow three-quarters of voters now disapprove of him.

Either way, it seems to me the euphoria of Obama's rallys evidence not so much a change in national politics, but the disintegration of culture as it stands circa 2008.



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