Be all that you can be—or used to be

Barack Obama is no longer a presidential candidate, but a pre-Madonna archetype for the not-so-Anglo-Saxon America of today. Everything about him, from his ill-proportioned face to his international background, embodies the new American. A thrown-aside, No-Child-Left-Behind generation with obligations to clean up our parent’s mistakes: their industrialized economic, environmental and political mistakes.

A few Sundays ago, I piled into a car to see the Obama rally. Lots of people were denied entry to the exclusive Barack event. When my crew got there at around 11 o’clock, Aretha Franklin was bumping, the crowd rowdy, the air vibrant. I’d never seen Obama in the flesh, and on the way to the event, I told myself to listen to his words closely, make sure the hype is there for the quality of his policies and not his taste in neckties. As soon as I entered the gates, my head cracked from the flat screams. My group filtered as far front as possible, standing aside to let people clap, jump, yell, whatever. A mid-aged black lady bumps into me, flailing her whole body round, clapping as she rotates the full 360 degrees. “I’m ready for change! I’m ready for change!” This is not politics—this is a circus, I mused.

From his first word, it was impossible to hear him over my fellow Ashevilleans’ banshee cries. If things were to change, would you still feel free to invade my privacy of thought with praises for a man not yet handed glory?

Barack Obama’s campaign may have been hindered rather than helped by him being turned into a pop icon. Thugs sport the outline of his face on tall tees, his name in hip-hop songs. My roommate Jay even has a “Barack Out With Your Cock Out” hat.

Obama cradles the most influential demographic in Asheville, a key region for winning North Carolina. In these last few weeks, he needs to get down to business, roll up his sleeves and be what he once was praised as: a social, economic and community concerned leader, not MTV’s choice for their next reality-TV show. With our fair city leading the nation in alternative thought, is it safe for us to celebrate before the results pan out?

— Mitchell Dorsk

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3 thoughts on “Be all that you can be—or used to be

  1. mountain mama

    well said. A wake-up call perhaps for those of us a little too over zealous? I’m guilty as charged as well.

  2. dave

    well stated. Cult of personality. I wonder how long it will take everyone to be as disillusioned with him as first-time democratic voters were with clinton? we expect far too much out of our candidates and far too little out of ourselves. He’s just a politician.

  3. PJ

    Well, do you think the guy that focuses on good politics is really going to win? He SHOULD be the guy that wins. But I would say a majority of the nation makes their vote based on whose face they would rather see on TV for the next four years. You make a good point, but I feel the issues lie with the voting body that a candidate must cater his campaign strategies to. Is it really that bad that so called “thugs”, who maybe were not so politically minded before, may now participate and exercise their political rights, which are the exact same as yours and mine. Have you visited an Obama rally in a not so “alternative” thinking environment? Was it the same circus? Was this circus created for a certain audience? If he is to practice his politics, should he first secure public support for his persona which may in turn secure his position to practice these politics? I think his intention is to get votes from voters who never voted before. That is why I love his approach. He is doing what nintendo did with the Wii, creating a new demographic of participants. Nintendo got Charlie and Fay into video games, and Barack is trying to get non voters to vote. You made some great observations, i commend you, but I am an addict so nothing satisfies me!

    Love ya Mitchy

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