How about a little political optimism?

After seven and a half years of conservative leadership in the United States I think it’s safe to say that the American people are exhausted. We’ve survived the smug self-righteousness of the conservatives, blunted our ears and minds to the endless propaganda streaming from Fox news, CSPAN, stared blankly as even the satire of lies, betrayal, crumbling economy and failure grow progressively gentler in the Onion, on the Daily Show, and watched in wonder as the fists of protest and opposition weaken and fall limp, the arguments for and against grow mute, and all the love of the cause drain out of our eyes as we scramble to pay rent, find a job, secure some kind of plan to get back on our feet. The Clinton years of boom are barely a memory now. The world is changed.

We don’t want to hear it, we don’t care, we’re exhausted. Yes yes… Bush is a liar… yes, yes, the Democrats have been useless… Sure, whatever… We’re in an endless war, the economy is horrifyingly bad — the Canadian Loonie is worth more than the Jorge today — and complaints just sound like self-pity. Young people have unkempt faux-hawks, and seem to only want to neck oxycodones, or get shit faced and pogo to bad imitations of only slightly more interesting 80’s rock bands. Even the inter-web, which once seemed like an inroad to independence, enterprise, and empowerment has gone the way of wall-mart and we just mindlessly reload our facebook profiles looking for something to come to us… From the middle of the street here in San Francisco (on a bad day) it looks like the end of the world, and we give up. Uncle.

Barack Obama seemed to come out of nowhere. I heard things about his speeches at the last DNC in Chicago… but when I watched the sound bite of the speech I thought he looked like a typical compromise. The usual script, another yuppie in disguise, so what? Yet softly, then repeatedly, and now overwhelmingly I have returned to Obama. His steady, serious, clear, and what seems like an honest approach to his campaign has awakened hope within me — much to my surprise, and certainly against my will. I find myself an Obama supporter, I have given his campaign money, and believe that he will win in the fall election.

How did he do this? How has this skinny, humdrum, conseravtive-ish man from Chicago won my heart and given birth to optimism in my mind? It’s a baffling mystery I would never have expected. In truth I completely expected Hillary Clinton to be run for president against some chucklehead Republican, and she would have dug a nice hole, and we would have at least 4 more years of war, and shitty economy until someone unknown appeared and people had no choice but to vote for them… apathy’s inertia being the main thrust behind the victory, and my cynicism would remain intact.

But I was wrong. And there’s More.

Today my friend Jill sent me a link to a cartoon from Sean Tevis. Sean is a Democrat running for legislature in Kansas. He looked into running for office because he didn’t like how things were going. Initial attempts to make this happen taught Tevis a few important lessons, and he regrouped. The cartoon will explain the process better than I can, but what blew me away… blew me away enough to send Tevis a little donation via paypal… was the idea that of course you can run for office.

I actually do know a little bit about how the process works, and I understand that as a member of any political party, all you need to do is sing up, toss your name in the hat, get some signatures and some money, and you’re on the ballot. The process is surprisingly simple. But what I loved about Tevis is that he actually did it.

Further, Tevis seems to have used the internet in the most positive way possible. No cynicism that I can see, he just chucked it aside, and moved forward. I love it.

It doesn’t matter what you believe, or who you vote for, or what you feel about the various individuals in office, or hoping to be elected to office. I am writing about the birth of something new. Free of apparent cynicism, religious bias, or the chains of past experience, this new brand of politician appears to be Americans, extraordinary in that they are completely ordinary, have become engaged. Pro business, pro capitalism, pro family, pro truth, pro access, pro progress. It makes my idealist’s heart dance, and sing, and look around for his tambourine.

I’ve got no way of knowing how effective these people will be if they get elected, but I tell you… it’s just the right thing at just the right time.

Read More about Sean Tevis


  1. jill:

    Hate to be a bummer… But you aren’t going to be able to vote for him. Neither is anyone else outside of freakishly conservative kansas. He could have a bajillion $ but what he’ll end up really needing is the votes.

  2. I can see you’re not on board with this whole optimism thing.

  3. christina:

    I live in a highly conservative area of the country, We’re talking Big Baptist and Nascar. Though I’ve not seen as many Obama bumper stickers in my town as I have here in SF during my visit, there are a hand full out there. It did sort of hit me a few weeks back when I was driving behind a car back home that had a McCain bumper sticker on it. I thought to my self, “my goodness, this is the first McCain sticker I have ever seen” That says a lot about the shift that has begun
    in our country.

    It took me some time to warm up to Barak. Not because I did not like him. He’s one of the best speakers in my life time, but after the past 7.5 years, I did not want to vote on emotion, I did not want to vote on “hope” I wanted to vote on substance and down right specific policy ideas. I did not care about personality or whom I would have coffee with. I was (still am) ready to take the hard medicine needed to begin the healing of not only our nation but our world. So my primary vote went else where. However, I have slowly begun to understand what it is about Obama that we honestly need right now and it is “hope.”

    The world is so thirsty for real compassion, real empathy, honest heart-felt and intelligent diplomacy. We’re all in the together and the last thing we want is more fighting, more bureaucratic, never get anywhere, bullshit. We are ready for “Mission Repair”

    The next 5 months will be hard, may get worse before it gets better, but things are happening. We had an 80% turn out just for our primaries. Our average turnout for a general election is usually 40%.

    Clair Mccaskill and Jim Web were elected to the Senate the same
    year as Obama and they all three have the same sort of deminer.
    They are true progressives and they are a prime example of a movement of new leadership.

    (that was just a warm up)

    : )

  4. bring it! I’m with you.

  5. stagg:

    i think obama is going to win. you know when the corporate owned “left-wing” media is getting yelled at for being unfair to mccain by fox news that a change of the guard is coming.

    i’m hoping it is a start of a wave that sweeps away years of an ideology that has hurt the majority of the country.

    if people keep speaking out anything is possible…

    : )
    i’m usually a cynic but i see it is easy to be cynic. a cynic never has to be wrong and never fails. he’s just as much a part of the status quo as GE or Exxon.