It goes without saying that DC was the place to be over Inauguration weekend. I rarely feel that way about this city…but yeah. Lots of fun was had by all.

On Wednesday afternoon (after the dust settled) I was on my way back from campus huddled in a bus shelter trying to avoid the biting wind. I found myself leaning against a mural size Pepsi ad celebrating President Obama. I’ve seen similar Coke ads around; granted the Coke versions don’t mention the President, but they’re clearly in the same “inspirational” mode borrowed from his campaign. Now I think it’s a tremendous bulwark to President Obama’s reputation as a centrist that he’s made the two super rich multinational purveyors of sugar water unite in their adulation of him. But I also think there’s more than a touch of irony in the fact that big corporations apparently love him as much as us young left leaners!

So here I was contemplating the marketing wizardry behind Obama when one of my neighbors randomly spotted me and pulled up in her car.

“Hey! Good day today!” she proclaimed.
“Yeah, it’s not as cold as yesterday…” came my unassuming reply.
“…well, that was yesterday….” I attempted humor.
“OBAMA! YEAH!” she yelled, driving away.

My first impulse was to scoff.

But then I paused for a second and it just finally clicked that the highest office in the land is no longer occupied by an aristocratic, dithering, “ethically challenged”, bible thumping, borderline retarded OIL INDUSTRY PUPPET! It’s like waking up from a nightmare — it takes a few moments to comprehend that it’s all over.

Personally I think that the political system is too slow to react, and its participants too reluctant to challenge corporate power, for there to be a viable avenue away from ecological ruin.

Still, it feels pretty great to have a President who can at least make you believe that he *understands* the issues that are important to you. And just based on what my friends in other countries think of him, perhaps Obama does have a chance at repairing the American image abroad and actually engaging the US with the fledgling institutions of international cooperation that we really need to make this “green” shit meaningful.

Nothing fundamental has changed about the way “the system” (man!) works.

But it’s pretty great nonetheless.


2 Responses to “Obamarama”

  1. William Bruntrager Says:

    It’s probably not necessary that I comment in order to tell you that I disagree, but I am doing it anyway.

    Also, the fact that Obama receives support from young left-leaners and big corporations is an indication that at least one of those groups doesn’t understand what government and the Presidency are all about.

  2. tripinchina Says:

    Well maybe you’re right, but I thought you didn’t approve of “false consciousness”…aren’t people (and corporations) rational actors according to you? That is, don’t they support Obama because they get something out of it one way or another? Wouldn’t we be “elitist” to claim that they’re making the wrong choice?

    As I mentioned, “the system” remains unchanged — government will continue to serve the interests of the powerful and the US will continue to protect its global hegemony. (check out Chomsky on Obama’s Israel position: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/23/noam_chomsky_obamas_stance_on_gaza)

    Bush and Obama don’t differ on fundamental goals, and that doesn’t surprise me. But I’d argue that there are significant human differences in the way they go about things. For example, since Bush and Cheney were (literally) oil company cronies, there is reason to believe that an Obama administration will be more amenable to promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, which may serve to mitigate the catastrophe of atmospheric climate change. I would argue that a little difference between these two men goes a long way.

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