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Back in the summer of 2008, I remember asking my liberal friends if they were put off, even a little bit, about how Barack Obama wasn’t just admired, but nearly worshiped.
A normal American, I said, thinks it’s creepy that his fellow “free citizens” produce iconography like this, or this, or this. That’s the kind of stuff produced by artists in totalitarian societies, usually against their will. Yet some Americans did it willingly in 2008.
A normal American thinks it’s chilling to discover that public school teachers are drilling children to sing songs in praise of a complete stranger — a politician about whom we knew so little, and who had accomplished exactly nothing of consequence in his public life.
A normal American, who can be counted on to be a vigorous participant in our popular culture, might also have thought it weird to see so many Hollywood stars pledge allegiance, in the end, to one man: Barack Obama.
Yet while all this was going on in the summer of 2008, I couldn’t find a single liberal friend to even say: “Yeah, I like Obama. But all of that stuff is a little creepy.” Those same liberal friends urged me to keep an open mind about Barack Obama. Let’s see what he does, they said. Let’s see if he really can unite the country. Give him a chance.
Of course, as we now know, Obama didn’t even try to unite the country, but immediately declared “I won,” and crammed down everything he could with a unified Democrat government for two years. It’s hard to give a guy with that attitude a “chance.” Reagan had to work with “the other side” throughout his presidency, and he relished it. Yet Obama’s rhetoric — there aren’t blue states and red states, but the United States — didn’t last as long as the flowers at his inauguration.
So, here we are, six years into Obama’s presidency, and America is not “fixed” financially, but has actually been made worse. And we now witness a world that is messier and more dangerous than it was during the Cold War — which was scary, but at least offered stability and order. The world today is as unstable and directionless as it was before the start of World War I — thanks, in no small part, to Obama’s refusal to exert America’s values on the world stage. It is now more treacherous to be an ally of the United States than it is to be an enemy, especially if you are not a traditional Western power.
As I consider the current state of affairs, as every normal American does, I see how no place on earth is more peaceful today than it was in 2008 — despite Barack Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. So I can’t help but think back to my liberal friends who urged me to give Barack Obama a chance. He campaigned on “hope” and “change” and with the promise of a new and better world — a vision embraced by people across the globe. He would heal America and (as the Nobel Committee thought) heal the world.
How close to the sun has our American Icarus flown? There is no better example of that than an op-ed by Mark Morford published by the San Francisco Chronicle on June 8, 2008. It’s important to remember this sort of thing for posterity:
Is Obama an enlightened being?
Spiritual wise ones say: This sure ain’t no ordinary politician. You buying it?
I find I’m having this discussion, this weird little debate, more and more, with colleagues, with readers, with liberals and moderates and miserable, deeply depressed Republicans and spiritually amped persons of all shapes and stripes and I’m having it in particular with those who seem confused, angry, unsure, thoroughly nonplussed, as they all ask me the same thing: What the hell’s the big deal about Obama?
I, of course, have an answer. Sort of.
Warning: If you are a rigid pragmatist/literalist, itchingly evangelical, a scowler, a doubter, a burned-out former ’60s radical with no hope left, or are otherwise unable or unwilling to parse alternative New Age speak, click away right now, because you ain’t gonna like this one little bit.
Ready? It goes likes this:
Barack Obama isn’t really one of us. Not in the normal way, anyway.
This is what I find myself offering up more and more in response to the whiners and the frowners and to those with broken or sadly dysfunctional karmic antennae – or no antennae at all – to all those who just don’t understand and maybe even actively recoil against all this chatter about Obama’s aura and feel and MLK/JFK-like vibe.
To them I say, all right, you want to know what it is? The appeal, the pull, the ethereal and magical thing that seems to enthrall millions of people from all over the world, that keeps opening up and firing into new channels of the culture normally completely unaffected by politics?
No, it’s not merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric. It is not fresh ideas or cool charisma or the fact that a black president will be historic and revolutionary in about a thousand different ways. It is something more. Even Bill Clinton, with all his effortless, winking charm, didn’t have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity.
Dismiss it all you like, but I’ve heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who’ve been intuitively blown away by Obama’s presence – not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence – to say it’s just a clever marketing ploy, a slick gambit carefully orchestrated by hotshot campaign organizers who, once Obama gets into office, will suddenly turn from perky optimists to vile soul-sucking lobbyist whores, with Obama as their suddenly evil, cackling overlord.
Here’s where it gets gooey. Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.
The unusual thing is, true Lightworkers almost never appear on such a brutal, spiritually demeaning stage as national politics. This is why Obama is so rare. And this why he is so often compared to Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., to those leaders in our culture whose stirring vibrations still resonate throughout our short history.
Are you rolling your eyes and scoffing? Fine by me. But you gotta wonder, why has, say, the JFK legacy lasted so long, is so vital to our national identity? Yes, the assassination canonized his legend. The Kennedy family is our version of royalty. But there’s something more. Those attuned to energies beyond the literal meanings of things, these people say JFK wasn’t assassinated for any typical reason you can name. It’s because he was just this kind of high-vibration being, a peacemaker, at odds with the war machine, the CIA, the dark side. And it killed him.
Now, Obama. The next step. Another try. And perhaps, as Bush laid waste to the land and embarrassed the country and pummeled our national spirit into disenchanted pulp and yet ironically, in so doing has helped set the stage for an even larger and more fascinating evolutionary burp, we are finally truly ready for another Lightworker to step up.
Let me be completely clear: I’m not arguing some sort of utopian revolution, a big global group hug with Obama as some sort of happy hippie camp counselor. I’m not saying the man’s going to swoop in like a superhero messiah and stop all wars and make the flowers grow and birds sing and solve world hunger and bring puppies to schoolchildren.
Please. I’m also certainly not saying he’s perfect, that his presidency will be free of compromise, or slimy insiders, or great heaps of politics-as-usual. While Obama’s certainly an entire universe away from George W. Bush in terms of quality, integrity, intelligence and overall inspirational energy, well, so is your dog. Hell, it isn’t hard to stand far above and beyond the worst president in American history.
But there simply is no denying that extra kick. As one reader put it to me, in a way, it’s not even about Obama, per se. There’s a vast amount of positive energy swirling about that’s been held back by the armies of BushCo darkness, and this energy has now found a conduit, a lightning rod, is now effortlessly self-organizing around Obama’s candidacy. People and emotions and ideas of high and positive vibration are automatically drawn to him. It’s exactly like how Bush was a magnet for the low vibrational energies of fear and war and oppression and aggression, but, you know, completely reversed. And different. And far, far better.
Don’t buy any of it? Think that’s all a bunch of tofu-sucking New Agey bulls– and Obama is really a dangerously elitist political salesman whose inexperience will lead us further into darkness because, when you’re talking national politics, nothing, really, ever changes? I understand. I get it. I often believe it myself.
Not this time.
[End of Mark Morford op-ed.]