Since Barack Obama is the first Black presidential candidate in American history, it was essential to make him personally familiar to the American people. This could not be done by speaking of his legislative accomplishments, of which none is worth mentioning. Nor could such familiarity be achieved by speaking of Obama’s experience in world affairs, of which he is less than an amateur.
Obama, whose mentor for many years was “God-damn-America” Jeremiah Wright, had to be given a media image—crafted in a certain way, one that would make Americans feel he was one of them. He had to appear not only as a red-white-and–blue American, but someone like your neighbor, even a friend, someone you often had over for dinner, someone you have known for many years—a family man with family values (contrary to the permissiveness of his Democratic Party).
His wife’s speech at the Democratic National Convention made this transparently clear. She was, oh, so personal, so charmingly intimate. Barack is like you and me. We are all the same despite our differences. We all want change. We all want to make life better for our children. That’s what America is all about—a nation of hopes and dreams.
And so Michelle, like her husband, played on the emotions. She made you feel good, compassionate, perhaps even tearful—at one with everyone.
Yes, Obama’s campaign has been a ceaseless play on the calming emotions in contradistinction to inquiring reason or rationality. Whereas reason divides us; the emotions can unite us, for we all feel the same about the simple, everyday things of life, don’t we? We are really one.
Being one, we can overcome any problem. We don’t have to speak about divisive issues and what needs to be done to solve them.
Iran, the epicenter of Islamic jihad? Iran, whose president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad envisions a world without America? The issue is not a clash of civilizations. No, all we need is diplomacy, perhaps “tough” diplomacy, but nothing more than diplomacy.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict? The issue is not ideological but territorial. Israel need only give the Arabs the “West Bank” and half of Jerusalem and peace will prevail in the Middle East, Never mind Islam’s culture of hate, its fratricidal wars, its fourteen centuries of imperialism.
A resurgence of Russian imperialism or a new Cold War? What’s that? The Cold War is over, overcome by a united world (not by American power or by American democracy and leadership vis-à-vis Soviet communist tyranny), One world—that’s the hope, that’s the dream, that’s the world as it should be, the world of Barack and Michelle Obama.
And so the Obama campaign mutes all world-shaking and divisive issues. “We need more jobs, better education, health care for everyone. We all want that, don’t we? That means we want change, which is what my campaign has been all about.”
Change is the mantra of youth, and youth can do anything. Hence the mantra: “Yes, we can”! Change is also what the media is all about—constant change—everywhere. So the daily news has taken the place of the daily prayer: superficiality and distraction as opposed to depth and concentration.
Barack Obama is America’s quintessential media candidate, an image candidate—like Jimmy Carter, a billboard candidate, all surface and no depth.
And that’s what many millions of Americans are going to vote for come November.