Obama Fever

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Obama was in our neck of the woods yesterday, at JMU. I called my 17 year old out sick to school (like a lot of people, he had Obama Fever) and he waited in line in cold weather and high winds for several hours, only to be turned back to an alternate site to watch the speech on TV. He did get a wave as the Great One drove away, and the atmosphere was, I gather, emotional and almost religious. Earlier that day, I had received a call from a Democratic activist, wanting me to attend and endorse, etc. I kindly told the older man that while I had no ill will towards him, Obama was a socialist, the choices were between a fascist McCain and a socialist Obama, and I’d either be not voting at all or writing in Ron Paul, hadn’t decided yet. He seemed confused that I called both candidates socialist, taken aback, not angry, not 100% sure what I meant by socialist. He seemed to think it might be jingoism on my part.

Bottom line: Son comes home last night, asks me “What is a socialist?” I said, “If you had a good job and I didn’t, it would be OK because we could just pool all of our income and split it equally.” Then I told him to go to wikipedia and see what they say. He comes back in a few minutes, and says, “Mom, Obama IS a socialist!” But my son was very impressed with Obama the person just the same, even as he now understands more about the philosophy that animates many politician(s).

Words do have meaning, of course. But it seems like many Americans have all of this belief baggage (the United States isn’t already socialist, the GOP isn’t the American Fascist Party, we revere the Constitution in this country, too little government rather than too much caused the financial crisis, etc).

I’m digressing, but we have all of these cleaning, clutter and simplicity TV shows on so we can get our homes and lives in order — we have tons of losing weight and makeover competitions, interventions, and crime solving entertainment. Maybe the popularity of self-improvement, lifestyle effectiveness and justice can translate into a more honest assessment of our government, its accumulation of property and power over us, its clutter and contradictions, its waste, its addictions, its crimes — and we can sweep it away, clean house, and lock up the evil perps.

Hollywood TV people understand what viewers want to see and feel — and this may be what Obama fever is about. Not that Obama could deliver real change — but his popularity — just like that of phenom Ron Paul — reflects a truth about the fundamental desires of a majority of people in this country that may actually be a serious harbinger of future liberty. If we can clean our house, end our bad habits, be more brutally honest, hold people accountable, stop buying too much and work harder — we can have freedom. This is not taught in public schools, not evidenced by current government policies — but it sells well as entertainment in America. We know LRC, the Austrian School and a whole network of liberty educators and actors is having an effect. Is it possible Hollywood is also helping shape a non-socialistic conceptual path to drastically smaller and weaker governments at all levels? I don’t have Obama fever, but I am optimistic!

6:28 am on October 29, 2008