Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

“How’s that hopey/changey thing workin’ out for ya?”

with 3 comments

**Wiz? El Wot here. You neglected to give this post a title, and if you check the by-laws (6.c) you’ll see that, in such a situation, it’s open-season for unilateral titling. Should you have a problem with this I’ll see you at the next board meeting (the Denny’s in El Paso in June).**

It is currently fashionable to mock those who held high hopes for the Obama administration.  “I was never one of those people who bought into the Obama-as-savior myth,” the insider says. “Only the naïve would do that! Real and serious people always understood that hope and change stuff to be nonsense.”

If this was just normal ex-post-facto posturing, it would be merely annoying, a way to feel superior to the rubes. But, of course, the subtext is that anyone who continues to hold the administration to high standards is being unrealistic, naïve, or just plain doesn’t get it; that of course Obama is only capable of achieving small- bore micro-policies, that of course Obama must continue every shitty Bush-era civil liberties violation, that of course those promises about re-writing NAFTA and allowing drugs from Canada in were just lies.  Of course, the effect of this narrative is to normalize the complacency of the insiders and their status quo, while marginalizing the voices of outsiders who actually would like some of that hope and change.

Anyway, I just thought it was important to remind people out there of the difference between hope and expectation. It is one thing to hope for something without facts, to have faith in the unknown.  It is another to expect that when a president wins a decisive election with huge majorities in both houses, he will actually be able to accomplish a couple of the things he promised. I don’t actually think that is asking too much.


Written by Peter Wirzbicki

February 8, 2010 at 10:00

Posted in Obama, politics

3 Responses

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  1. I agree, I’m proud to admit I did buy into the “hope and change rhetoric”, mostly because I don’t think it should be seen as rhetoric. We elected Obama based on a platform for real changes; the majority of Americans made a statement about their values and the direction of our policies. We should continue to hold our leaders accountable to that platform. Sure, Obama needs cooperation and there will be occasional compromises, but the current cessions are outrageous and we, those of us who elected him, need to enforce that accountability. Rather than shying away from a mission that now seems unlikely, we should be waving our “hope and change” flags and demanding Obama start seeing things through!


    February 8, 2010 at 11:30

  2. d’accordo with the post as well as Shea’s comment. The “didn’t buy in line” clearly a technocrat pleasing Status Quo approving toss of wrench into moving wheel. So ya either allow the wrench to stay, or you remove wrench and…you know, push that wheel.


    February 8, 2010 at 16:25

  3. […] fashion- I think both the positive takes on Obama (by our own Weiner) and the negative takes (by myself and Wotty) are both largely correct. We’re just ultimately talking about different […]

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