Dougas Rushkoff has a forward looking post up on his blog regarding Obama and change and the hard work that lay ahead and he makes a number of important points, including:
No, the opportunity is not to create the next great website for modeling bottom-up community activity, but to go and actually do the stuff. It is to participate the public school, work towards alternative energy possibilities, design and install bicycle lanes, argue at work for equal pay for women, assist local agriculture projects, develop complementary currencies and non-profit credit unions.
My faith in the change we need will be strengthened by my own and others initiative. Obama can inspire us, and even remove some of the obsolete regulations preventing progressive activities from taking hold. His ability to lead us out of this mire into a brighter future will be limited, however, by our own capacity to engage.
This cuts to some very important realities that we must deal with.
Real progress and solutions always require a good amount of change and innovation, both sorely lacking the past several years in our leadership from the White House and the private sector. Most of it rooted in a lethargy born of fear, intimidation, arrogance and eliminationism.
The truth of the matter is glaringly simple: conservatism is about maintaining the financial and emotional status quo, and brought to it’s extreme (as we’ve seen in the Theocratic and NeoCon movements) it becomes about fighting any change at all, no matter the outcome, with hatred and lies and a grab for power. Under such strict cognitive processes, monetary concerns and real issues – whether of national security or social security – take a back seat to ideology and the pursuit of power. And therein lay a great amount of chaos, decay, myopia and stagnation. It’s deeply ironic coming from the party of Lincoln, and also quite tragic. The legislative and policy record of the Bush White House will be the final historical testament to a mind set gone awry, a movement of nothingness and disaster run amok.
And, keep this in mind: the “solution” from the conservatives that will surely come forward in the coming days will be to rebrand the same old as new and improved. As conservative pundit and writer David Frum said recently:
One thing that will certainly happen is a fundamentalist response…”‘If only we had been more consistently conservative, none of this would have happened; there’s still a conservative voting majority out there, and Bush alienated them with his too-centrist policies and various deviations from conservative orthodoxy; McCain was obviously unacceptable; and if the voters turned down ham and eggs, it’s because they wanted double ham and double eggs.” That will be one view. How fast, how dramatically, and what form the alternative will take—that, no, we have a deeper problem—I can’t predict. But it will come.
And, it’s already happening. Karl Rove and others have been on the disinfo campaign, touting a version of what Frum states, as has Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
It can, to some degree, be a mild amusement, and chalked up to the rants and silly gyrations of a political party in its final death throes. But, considering the level and severity of the issues facing us not only as a nation but as a planet, such an attitude is not only foolish, but downright dangerous. People are struggling. And, all indications are that it is going to get worse before it gets better.
The success or failure of any civilization is predicated upon the success or failure of certain social structures, not the least of which is the ability of the masses to supply themselves with essentials – food and shelter – in reality, and the perception of what lay ahead is extremely important.
The great success of Mao Zedong in a country of a billion over the course of decades was initialized primarily by a deep understanding of that reality – people need to eat and have a roof over their heads – and the movement continued with great success (for those in power at least) for generations (and still does to some degree) because it was extended into an oppressive movement in order to maintain itself. The first move of all power structures is to attempt to solidify that structures existence – to secure it into perpetuity. And, that is a paradox that literally creates a scenario by which real change and solutions are sorely hampered. Change becomes obsolete. And, in the case of the Cultural Revolution, illegal.
Of course, the very nature of human social groups predicates that all power structures will inevitably collapse under their own weight, since solidifying power and creating change and progressive solutions for the masses – ensuring people have enough to eat and a place to sleep – are not always conducive. Which is usually what happens on a much more rapid time frame here in the USA, since we have elections. At least, that’s the theory.
IMHO, people of progressive attitude look to their leaders for good ideas, and the sharing of those ideas. Just like what we do in forums, and blogs and community gatherings. And, Obama is both a symbol and a working example of that.
The great failure of George W. Bush, if you strip away all of the politics and the hubris, is that he never asked the American people to assist in the struggle that lay before us, he never engaged the great minds and powerful work ethics of the people to deal with the looming and serious issues that were literally laying themselves at our feet begging to be dealt with. He only asked us to spend our money and shop. And, shop we did!
The results are crystal clear for anyone with an ounce of common sense to see.
Real solutions require real work, as Douglas points out.
And, work we shall.