Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Are We Shocked?

Eight years ago, we handed a bunch of foxes the keys to the hen house, and now we are shocked to find the birds are dead. My son, who thinks "race" is a factor in this race, says that his friends are "all about JMac," but he can't understand why it's okay to nationalize corporations, but not health care. It's not tough to figure. The crowd that's in charge now is all about taking care of the super-rich, to hell with the rest of us. They have duped cultural conservatives into believing they care about their values, though living few of them, while democrats have effectively shown the same group the door. Now, the republicans are banking that fear of too much change keep the keys in their pockets, and they may be making a good bet. That's the problem with the "change message." We say we want it, but the prospect of real, deep, fundamental change, makes us very anxious, and human beings are wired to act to ease our own anxiety. If it seems to be an option, people will pick change-lite over real change every time. Generally, I have found that to buy in to the sort of change Obama represents, people have to be in tremendous pain or extremely fearful-think choosing to leap from a burning building into the arms of a fireman. Well, the birds are dead and the house is one fire. The question is, will it be enough to overcome the fear of voting for someone who is fundamentally different than any other politician in our lifetime? I hope so, but I think that it depends on whether the crisis on Wall Street trickles down to Main Street before the election.

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