The politics of hope

Change we can believe in.
— Barack Obama

The sale of hope is in vogue in today’s politics and Barack Obama, for me, won the US elections precisely with this successful sales pitch. For one, the concept of hope, the expectation that something is going to change, is wide-ranging enough to capture the imagination and ideals of a diverse electorate. Plus, it is vague enough to not commit you to a particular group but fundamental enough to tug at the core of human emotions.

And in these postmodern times, people are bored of the status quo. It is seen as stale and a breeding ground for cronyism. Change on the other hand, is dynamic and in itself contains a raw energy that excites the people. Governance today is no longer seen as attempting to control or restrain the masses to maintain stability, but about managing fluidity, riding the very wave that could one day consume you.

Obama himself rode in on this wave to see change, but where is he bringing it? He never said enough. Or, where is it bringing him? The people were never asked.

Still, as I watched Milk, a biopic of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, I am sure Obama and  other politicians around the world would agree,

“You got to give them hope, you got to give them hope.”

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