I am finding that this election season finds two competing value-sets in the Democratic Party. One of those value-sets is that of the old guard, of Senator Hillary Clinton, and of former President Bill Clinton. The other value-set is that of Senator Barack Obama. It is not that the two individuals necessarily have conflicting values, indeed it seems that their attitudes towards policy seem to be generally the same, with Senator Obama actually providing more nuanced approaches than what Senator Clinton offers, but I digress. The value-set which Senator Clinton represents is that of the aloof defense attorney with a potentially guilty client. The lawyer must work at all points to destroy the prosecution in order to wholly acquit the defendant, whom the lawyer even feel to be guilty. Thus the attacks on the prosecution must be malicious enough to convince the minds of the jury that the prosecution’s case rests upon prejudice and hate. This is the same attitude which has prevailed over Washington, DC, with different defense attorneys, over the last decade-plus.
Senator Obama provides a different tact. Rather than act as a defensive aggressor, Senator Obama creates the perception, whether valid or not, that he does not embrace the tactics of persistent attack. While maintaining the same values as his opponent, he has demonstrated a willingness to govern over cooperative parties while maintaining faith to his ideals. He is sharp and witty, without being mean or ascerbic. Senator Obama is campaigning proof that it is possible to be over the age of thirty, be an idealist, and not be considered some sort of Pollyanna. He demonstrates and understanding that it’s far easier to despair and waste away your hopes and dreams, but the rewards of that could never match that of achieving those same hopes and dreams.
Those who turn thirty and lose their idealism stop trying to be idealistic and acclimate themselves to ceding their dreams to the past, dreams that are let go and slowly forgotten. Keep your eyes on your future – don’t let the past haunt you. It is always possible to recover, you just need be willing. That’s what this country needs – the will to be great again, the will to hope, and the will to dream. Without hopes or dreams, there is no future to seek. And with no future, we can make no gain.
With Barack Obama, we may begin to dream and hope again, and in that dreaming and hoping, we may once again find that America has a future which does not mire it in America’s past.