The Vision Thing …Part 4a

As we sit and wait to find out what kind of world we will be living in after tonight, and make no mistake, nothing less than that is at stake considering the differences between the world Obama will lead and the world McCain would have created through his ‘leadership,’ I will attempt to conquer the restlessness that comes with sitting on pins and needles and write about the future.

This essay is labeled part 4a though, because it will be a bit of a ramble, thoughts about vision, rather than presenting a vision. I spent the whole day (a rare and precious event) with my 21 year old son yesterday. I spent the day trying to see the future through his eyes. Since it is his future, more than mine. He started off by relating how excited he was to be voting in his first presidential election today, but that was immediately followed by a cynicism, in part a protective cynicism, as to the newly elected Dems doing much better at solving the very real problems his world faces.

It seems that somehow he grew up with a few ‘radical’ and certainly what Palin and Bachmann would describe as ‘anti-American,’ views about the way the world and politics works. He thinks apparently, that our government has been hijacked to serve the interests of the rich and the corporations that are actively attacking his future through war, greed, and most of all their refusal to address Climate Crisis if it costs them anything to do so. I have no idea where the kid learned that sorta stuff!

He was 13 when George Bush was elected. Through his formative years, Bush is all he has known. That makes hope for the future pretty tough, when the past eight years make up a big chunk of your life. Obama not withstanding. And listening to various people (ahem) rant and rail about what a shitty job the Dems have done in opposing Bush probably hasn’t helped much either! I mentioned self-protective cynicism earlier, which is basically a way to keep yourself from being hurt by not believing in anything, by not letting yourself hope. He has that in spades. But it is a veneer.

He is an extremely intelligent young man who has been present at and party to many very frank discussions about the present and the future.  He can see, like all young people can see…past all of the crap…a truly great future for the human race that is based on the potential we have, a future of peace and harmony, but he has no basis after the last eight years for expecting us to make that change.

Plus being young, he wants exciting, dramatic change. Shock and Awe changed his world, and now he wants some sort of Shock and Awe to change it back…or, forward, if you will. I told him that he will probably not get it. Because the good kind of change, Progressive change doesn’t work like that. It works like No Drama Obama works. Slow steady progress towards the better. Not to perfection, but to the better. As much as he doesn’t trust the Dems, he does admit that they are …better. That they will not fuck up AS much, their mistakes will be smaller than Bush’s mistakes, that they will at least TRY to take us forward. Instead of backwards into the Dark Ages.

All he has known is Bush, so he dares not hope….but you can see the hope within him. He dares not have a positive vision of the future based on what he sees in the present and has seen of the past.

(God I hope he doesn’t read this!)

And I think that a LOT of people share his view. And I think that that is one of the biggest obstacles to truly building a new world. People dare not hope for it and so they dare not build it, dare not invest in it. That, I think, may be the real (though apparently undramatic )change that Obama brings. Not a vision per se, but the giving of permission to have a vision. The ability to expand, instead of the insistence that we all contract in fear. Just that one change in the zeitgeist, imo, can spark a real change in the world, in the people of the world.

Progressive change is NOT dramatic. It is a series of small changes enacted over time that add up to a dramatic change. You don’t achieve Progressive change through dramatic events like war. You achieve by walking steadily into the future one step at a time, changing with your passage the landscape around you for the better with every step. Until one day you arrive at the future, a new and better future, that you have built as you walked and changed the bad things, slowly and over time, to good things.

The only drama comes when someone, someone like George Bush or Sarah Palin comes and tries to blow up that path! To destroy what you have built. It is a constant danger, because as we have seen for the last eight years now, destruction comes easy and quick. Everything that you have built over years and decades can be wiped out SO quickly by these destructive forces.

Those destructive forces are exactly what we must watch, eternally vigilant, for, for they not only destroy what we are trying to build, they destroy our hope of building at all. And more insidiously, they destroy us. They fracture us

into factions and cause us to fight each other over how to fight them. Just as they suppress the vote, they suppress our ability to work together. (Which is why I want to DESTROY them, lol, causing me to fight with others who don’t!) They cause us to fear them, instead of loving each other. Or, to put it another way, they test us. They test our commitment to love over fear and hope over hate.

Now, knock wood, that test is over. Have we, will we, passed it?

Will we come together, after having marginalized their influence? Can we start building that road to the future? Will we support the new generation in building the future they want? Can we come together despite the influence and tactics of those that want to keep us apart and in fear?

We don’t know.

But now, we have the chance at least to find out.

Now my son…and the rest of us….can afford to invest in hope again.

Damn that feels good!




(and hat tip to tahoebasha3)

As we come out of the Culture Wars, which started as a generational war, we NEED to support the young people of today, and their emerging vision. The generation that was in charge when we had a vision for the world fought us tooth and nail…and we see the result. We must be mindful of offering our wisdom towards THEIR vision, but also be mindful of getting the fuck out of the way!


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  1. on election juice, the juice of change!

    So….I have no idea if that essay made any sense whatsoever! My apologies for being…


  2. come to think of it, youze guys is probably too hyped up to read all of that rambling crap anyway! I know my attention span is about as long as a gnats pecker right now, lol!

    Good luck to us all!

    • robodd on November 4, 2008 at 20:11


  3. …is in the lobby of the apartment building where I live.  My attention span is pulling me to go down there and sit in the lobby, people watching, seeing if there are any voting problems and handing out reporting numbers if there are.  See you guys…

    …with talk up of how we need to find ways to collectively send our progressive message to the new administration…


    • WSComn on November 4, 2008 at 20:52

    That’s the way I view McCain’s and Obama’s leadership.  One will lead us into the sunrise, the other further into the sunset.  You all know which is which.  

    I, for one, am tired of the night, though if McCain wins, I’m sure the DHS will soon be by in their hummers to present us our very own standard issue night vision goggles.

    After all, life must go on!

    Sorry, buhdy…I guess we’re all rambling a little this day.

    Man…such dark visions waiting for the good news.

    But your comments on the best change being slow change…nice.  Perceptive.  Infuriating, but accurate…the best change.

    I’m reminded of walls across roads…as you travel down the road and come to a wall strung across that road you have 4 options.  Go back the way you came, sit down and cry, plant dynamite and blow up the road and wall or plant a Wisteria bush, which will, after a time, grow up and into the wall and tear it apart and down for you.  Time-wise, the longest effort spent getting past the wall is planting a Wisteria, but it is the most dependable and will deliver for you every time.  Also the most satisfying in the end.

    Sorry to be so cryptic today…not deliberate.

    Got to get back to work.

    See ya!

    • RiaD on November 4, 2008 at 20:55

  4. Maybe you should write while on that juice of change more often. LOL

    Here’s the basics of what I’ve seen in Obama from the beginning…change the narrative from one of FEAR to one of HOPE. And like you said, that opens the door to slow progressive change.

    Here’s a repeat of something I posted earlier that captures that.

  5. FDR came in with guns a blazin’, I see no reason why BO can’t do the same. In fact, given the fact that the human retro-virus called the right wing is going to freak out when BO wins, going full shock and awe into a progressive future makes the most sense from a tactical perspective- since they are gonna scream, give them something to scream about. And if they get nasty then go full Patriot Act on their asses, all the while reminding them that they are receiving a parting gift from Deadeye Dick Cheney.

  6. …lovely description of permission to hope.  

    Sometimes progressive change is profoundly dramatic.

    It just has a very different dynamic, I think…enough people indocrinating their children with these dreadful liberal principles…

  7. for feeling cynical like your son feels.  There haven’t been many reasons to NOT feel cynical watching the government’s performance (Dems too).  I was worried this would lead to even lower voter turnout than usual this time.

    But it hasn’t.  For some voters, it’s truly hope that something better is about to begin.  And I know some people who are voting this time because they’re ashamed for not voting in the past.  They watched the country go to hell and were ashamed they helped enable it.

    Whatever the reasons, I’m very encouraged (and I dare say optimistic) by the level of participation this time.  Engagement now bodes well for a progressive future.  

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