A few quick points:
— So we’re told that it’s a momentous event that a black man was voted to the presidency, and yet simultaneously, we’re told that it shouldn’t matter that a black man is voted to the presidency.
— All those people who pissed and moaned about the electoral college stealing the vote when Bush beat out Gore in 2000 are no longer complaining. Why? Well Obama only won by a marginal victory in the popular vote, yet swept the boards in the electoral vote. So it’s only okay if it works in your favor?
— Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad McCain didn’t get voted in, or his rather scary number two, Palin, a lady who believes that the world is 6,000 years old and that women don’t have rights over their own bodies. Lets hope she never gets even near the ticket in future. But Obama? We’ll see.
My main point:
Obama’s speech was epic, speaking mostly of social issues and broad sweeping statements like ‘we all have a duty’ etc, with the throaty rise-and-fall delivery of M.L. King. Honestly, I thought people were going to orgasm when he used the ‘calloused hand’ phrase. I decided to neatly put to one side my skepticism for the duration of the oratory performance, but the droves of people crying, the ambiguous statements, the flags waving. I had to wonder.
Total cost of the race for the White House (both parties): $1.5 billion.
Total cost of the House, Senate and the Executive seat campaigns: $5.3 billion
Money raised by Obama, in October alone: $153 million
Total Cost of TV Ads: $240 million
Cost of 30 min ad campaign by Obama: $3 million
The Obama campaign spent the lion share of the $1.5 billion campaign expenditure, (yes, you read that right). But there’s a problem. Everything he is saying is manufactured. Every gesture, every word, syllable and statement, every speech. His suit, his look, his smile. The speech I heard, and the hundreds of others, were written by someone else. The whole campaign, the slogan (“Yes We Can”), the logo, the TV ads, the radio spots. The whole thing is a marketing machine, and he is the brand. We are treated as consumers, choosing a product, the more conscientious of us carefully examining the back of the packet, the rest choosing on the basis of the pretty wrapping how much it will save us.
This wasn’t a clash of ideologies, or issues, it was a clash of marketing strategies. Can we fully trust that? Isn’t it from the same system that spawned the ‘other’ politicians that we shake our heads at? “But Daniel, this time it’s different.” Why? His statements are the same as anyone else’s. His issues are as ambiguous as the other guy. Wait… could it be… no, surely not… could it be, it’s because of how he sounds? How he delivers the words? The color of his skin?
Few of us are above this onslaught of phrases, slogans and promises. We are a trained consumer culture. Sure, we know that the product will never live up to the writing on the box, but hell, that’s life.
Okay, I’m not saying he will or he won’t live up to the expectations, and the voters have constructed a mighty high pedestal for him to stand on, maybe I’m wrong and we’ll have the best leader since Gandhi (he could succeed merely by contrast thanks to his predecessor), but I’m going to hedge my bets, wait and see. He has a list of lobbyists as long as my arm. They spent a lot of money to make him who he is.
Honestly, hands up how many of you voted for him because of how good he sounded and looked. You can admit it, it’s okay. It was pretty damn good, I’ll give him that. He knows how to spin a line.
In the same way as I am with music, I’m just a little wary of anyone who doesn’t write their own lyrics.