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"... only natural to experience a twinge of anxiety while celebrating at the edge of an abyss"

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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 11:57 PM
Original message
"... only natural to experience a twinge of anxiety while celebrating at the edge of an abyss"

David Sirota
Friday, January 23, 2009

<snip>

History undoubtedly spurred some of our national outpouring this week. A black man being sworn in to lead a country built on slavery, segregation and persistent racism is an unfathomable landmark.

There were also tears of prospective jubilation. Hearing a new president deliver a Rooseveltian "we're all in this together" speech instead of a Reagan-esque "every man for himself" diatribe implied the closure of an entire political era. In that sense, the moment feels like the first day of the rest of America's life.

Transcending our past and beginning a new future - these are heady undertakings whose complexity and uncertainty explains the apprehension many sensed rumbling beneath their inaugural elation. Though presidential festivities and media superlatives tried to numb any feeling other than happiness, it's only natural to experience a twinge of anxiety while celebrating at the edge of an abyss.

America is certainly optimistic that Obama will take bold action. But with failed get-rich-quick schemes now bleeding risk into every corner of the economy, it's hard to feel like rescue is even possible. Indeed, with so many of the same people still calling the shots on Wall Street and in Washington, speeches about American resilience can seem like hospice anesthesia rather than promising reasons to hang on for a cure.
<snip>
Cut through the meaningless platitudes describing our new president as a post-partisan, post-racial pragmatist, and you find an inspiring leader who organized us around optimism. Then consider that leader's behavior since the election, and you run into that nagging speck of doubt. His less-than-inspiring Cabinet appointments, his support of Bush's Wall Street bailout, his embrace of nonsensical corporate tax cuts - these moves raise questions about whether Obama is willing to differentiate between his two campaign themes: hope and change.

While both those things have lately been in short supply, the distance between them on policy is the gulf separating ambition and realization. Hope is a bill peppered with "may" - the word that merely asks banks or polluters to regulate themselves. Change is a statute teeming with "shall" - a term forcing its targets to comply. Hope is telegenic glamour, winning smiles, and poignant one-liners. Change is all the grinding work and uncomfortable confrontations that come with challenging power and enacting transformative laws.

The reason so many cried this week is because we can finally glimpse that change in the distance. And yet, those pangs of concern linger. They don't undermine the euphoria or diminish Obama's promise. But they do recognize that we worry about hope's mirage - and pray there are no illusions this time.

more..............
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/0...


David Sirota is the bestselling author of the books "Hostile Takeover" (2006) and "The Uprising" (2008). He is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future. Find his blog at OpenLeft.com or e-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm tired of Sirota. His anger annoys me. nt
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Thing I love about Sirota is
he's always SPOT ON!

:bounce:
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I don't agree. He just seems to 'need' to be angry when he
could be more optimistic. But enjoy his rages if you like them. Me, meh, not so much.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. maybe I'm missing something. Do you mean actual hostility or just "not optimistic"?
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 11:41 AM by omega minimo
DS seems pretty mild mannered in person the few times I've seen him on TV.

I love his writing because he makes vital connections and points that no one else does; covers gaps in our group thinking; ideas that have more historic balance and awareness...........

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. He writes like his glass is always half empty. Rarely
does he write anything not laden with criticism. To me, that gets old. I can take both, but not consistently one way from one writer. I don't read him much lately because he's such a downer all the time.
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Individualist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. Same here
As you said in a subsequent post, "he makes vital connections and points that no one else does".
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. seeing my two favorites last night on Moyers Journal was doubleplus good
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Sirota and Thomas Frank of NYT, The Baffler and What's The Matter With Kansas.

:bounce:
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. !+!!
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks for posting this
What a great line to use, too.

only natural to experience a twinge of anxiety while celebrating at the edge of an abyss

:scared:
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. 2nd choice: "Hope is a bill peppered with "may" ...... Change is a statute teeming with "shall""
:hi:
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
14. kick for Sunday brainiacs
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Mojorabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:15 AM
Response to Original message
3. He has a point
Obama needs to be bold in the economic arena. We are in a big downward spiral and the rescue bill going through congress is not bold enough.
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Waiting For Everyman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. So many people seem to expect Pres. O to have no complexity and no game.
I don't think we're really going to know what he's doing until a while after he's done it. And I think he meant it when he said we're going to have to WORK to make it happen.

Wondering about illusions is rather pointless, imo.
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omega minimo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. please read the whole piece -- had to edit for DU -- your point is in there
:thumbsup:
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