Monday, April 8, 2013

#98 / Brand Obama

I have been reading a book called The World As It Is, Dispatches on The Myth of Human Progress. The book is a compilation of essays written by Chris Hedges, and published in Truthdig between 2006 and 2012. 

One of the essays, published on May 3, 2009, is titled, "Buying Brand Obama."

Mr. Hedges does not have a lot of nice things to say about our President. He also does not have many good words to say about American politics. In fact, the following statement pretty much sums up his commentary: "The junk politics practiced by Obama is a consumer fraud."

Mr. Hedges is an angry man, or so I judge from reading his book. Frankly, I am not very happy with our current politics (and political leaders) either. 

In the end, though, I think that anger needs to be focused to be effective (if "anger" is effective at all). Perhaps Hedges is angry at Obama. Perhaps he is angry at the "celebrity culture" that he notes has come to permeate our lives and politics. Perhaps he is angry about the advertising industry in general, which uses its sophisticated techniques to dupe us into "doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest."

Wait a minute! If I gorge on processed food that is bad for my health, or succumb to "junk politics," I think the blame ultimately needs to be focused on my own behavior, not on those who are allegedly "duping" me. 

In other words: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" 

No one who is paying any attention at all should be "fooled" or "duped" by fast food choices, or by Brand Obama. Anyone who thinks that our national and international policies can be changed by voting for (or against) one of the national candidates that are put before us every four years, has not properly understood the obligations of citizenship. The political solutions we need will not be delivered to us. We are going to have to transform our politics from the bottom up. 

Shortcuts won't work. We might as well forget the "anger," and get to the task. 

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