A World Disappointed: Obama, the ‘Lightworker’ of 2008, Turns Out to Be a Low-Watt President

 

rolling_stone_obamaBack 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.

I did.

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.]

There are 33 comments.

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  1. doc molloy Inactive
    doc molloy
    @docmolloy

    A low watt president. Or put another way a dimwit..

    • #1
  2. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Jim, thanks for this.

    (Your second link is broken, by the way.)

    • #2
  3. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    I assume that Mark Morford didn’t lose his job, even though he couldn’t have been more wrong if he’d set out to be.  Six years later, why would anyone who wrote this kind of crap have any credibility?

    • #3
  4. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    You just gotta hope that liberals like this walking around with their head in the clouds have by now experienced the solar flare of reality.  And that it’s singed their eyebrows off.

    • #4
  5. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Jim, I’d suggest using the quote/indent function when posting Morford-like material.  I’m often a lazy reader and I missed the transition to the quote.  I’m still recovering.  You don’t want people mistaking Morford’s thoughts for your own, even for a second.

    • #5
  6. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    You guys are just living in the right-wing hate bubble. From a recent Morford column, The best worst president ever:

    Even so, I desperately wanted to ask Mr. Newport Beach what his stock portfolio looked like a mere six or seven years ago, when Bush & Co. ravaged the country and led us into one of the deepest, most brutal social and economic pits in modern history. …

    I also wanted to know, when Bush/Cheney lied to the world, openly violated the tragedy of 9/11 and invaded Iraq, killing tens of thousands, was he furious? …

    Nevertheless, Obama ended Bush’s disastrous war, just like he said he would, on time and under budget. Does it matter? …

    (must continue)

    • #6
  7. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    (continued from #6)

    Is he in line with the GOP’s recent spate of nasty misogyny and anti-abortion spew? What about the awful SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision, further bashing women, and Obama’s immediate moves to defend women’s rights?…

    Obama managed to do what nearly all economists and pundits thought impossible back in 2008: reverse the ugliest, GOP-led social and economic tailspin in modern history…

    How can there be such a radical disconnect between Mr. Newport’s engorged portfolio, his fantastic insurance plan, low mortgage rate and grotesque corporate privilege – most of it born of the past six years – and Obama’s overall policy successes? …

    Much to the GOP’s bitter revulsion, it turns out a calm, intellectual black man really can run an entire country – certainly far better than an inarticulate Texas bumbler, and even in the face of what is easily the most obstructionist, hateful, acidic and often downright racist Congress in modern memory. Quite an achievement, really. …

    • #7
  8. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    (continued from #7)

    To hear Mr. Newport Beach tell it, my president is a downright monster. Who cares if he ended the war, saved the economy, restored America’s stature in the world, nailed Osama bin Laden, invested billions in clean energy, partially reformed what is still the most expensive, least effective health care system in the industrialized world, or made the rich even richer? The guy’s the worst thing to ever happen to America. I mean, obviously. Now who wants more wine?

    There are people that really believe this. And get paid for writing this.

    • #8
  9. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    Wow – sounds like Morford hates the many Mr. Newport Beach’s of the country – which, according to him, his darling President created.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jim Lakely: 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.

     It’s called a “cult of personality,” and it has been with us as long as politicians/polemicists have.  Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, the Perons, Castro: the list is long. 

    Some seekers alight on such people and it is next to get them off their obsession, at least until it all comes crashing down around their ears.  Even then, there will be the diehard contingent that will never call retreat.

    • #10
  11. user_7742 Member
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    Hey, easy with the besmirching of my name, Jim. Sheesh!

    • #11
  12. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Wow, just wow, on the 2008 column and again on the recent one, wow. There will never be any kind of ‘coming together’ with people like that. His mind us slammed shut and sealed closed.

    • #12
  13. NYC Supporter Inactive
    NYC Supporter
    @RedFishBlueFish

    What I love most about his 2008 column is how the last paragraph, meant to be a dismissal of objections at the time, turns out to be exactly the truth.  It indicates that all of the information was there in 2008 to come to a judgment that in time would be proven true, that he had access to all of that information, including those who had processed it at the time and come to the eventually correct judgment, and he still missed it.  That only happens to otherwise educated people if some other force is causing them to reach a false judgment.  Which is why I do not think a guy like this will ever really recognize the error he made.  To do so would mean a process by which he begins to understand what drove him so off course.  That, of course, would require rejecting a good part of his world view.  It’s too painful for these guys to admit the error unless they have a wholesale conversion.  Don’t expect it.

    • #13
  14. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    I’m glad someone posted that 2008 article…  It truly is amazing.

    Nice post, by the way.

    • #14
  15. user_139157 Inactive
    user_139157
    @PaulJCroeber

    “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”.  Geez, does the author think the Kennedy legacy is substance or celebrity?  The left is forever in search of larger than life characters who are immutably chained by real world circumstances and the hard truth that life is larger than they.  Hope springing eternal is not a substitute for wisdom.

    • #15
  16. user_536317 Inactive
    user_536317
    @JimW

    Obama is the chief priest of his own personality cult. As he once said, “I actually believe my own [prairie patties].” He knows how to apply for every job, just not how to do it. So he’s convinced himself that the campaign IS the job, where unconquerable self-regard and NeverWet-level  blame-shifting are key skills.

    • #16
  17. user_536317 Inactive
    user_536317
    @JimW

    I like how Morford’s column doesn’t allow comments. I wonder why.

    • #17
  18. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    Randy Webster:

    I assume that Mark Morford didn’t lose his job, even though he couldn’t have been more wrong if he’d set out to be. Six years later, why would anyone who wrote this kind of crap have any credibility?

     Liberals just don’t value credibility.  Its for losers, old people, its stuff white people like.  There are much higher values, apparently, like being aggressively stupid in the service of social justice.  There was a thread on Ricochet awhile back on this topic.  I thought much humble pie would be eaten when peak oil, global warming, “Bush declares martial law”, failed to happen, as well as Obama being revealed to have no credibility whatsoever.  I was wrong!  I work in San Francisco and believe me, these people are not concerned in the least that the world has not behaved as they predicted.  Credibility is just not part of their value system.  They eagerly and shamelessly echo the points made by people who have been revealed to be about as wrong as wrong gets.  I don’t get it.  I would love to solve this mystery.  Or maybe I’m just old and white.

    • #18
  19. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    When American voters went with this cult of personality a second time, in 2012, I began to feel that all really is lost, that America as I conceived it was just gone.

    • #19
  20. user_158368 Inactive
    user_158368
    @PaulErickson

    Pencilvania:

    Wow – sounds like Morford hates the many Mr. Newport Beach’s of the country – which, according to him, his darling President created.

     Probably the daughters and sons of Beaches, too.

    • #20
  21. user_158368 Inactive
    user_158368
    @PaulErickson

    genferei:

    (continued from #7)

    To hear Mr. Newport Beach tell it, my president is a downright monster. Who cares if he ended the war, saved the economy, restored America’s stature in the world, nailed Osama bin Laden, invested billions in clean energy, partially reformed what is still the most expensive, least effective health care system in the industrialized world, or made the rich even richer? The guy’s the worst thing to ever happen to America. I mean, obviously. Now who wants more wine?

    There are people that really believe this. And get paid for writing this.

     Is Mr. Newport Beach related to Mr. Martha’s Vineyard?

    • #21
  22. Julia PA Member
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    Jim Lakely: 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?

     Yes, I don’t buy any of it. He is a string of solar-powered garden lights and we have been in an eclipse for the past six years. Oh, and the bulbs were broken from the start.

    • #22
  23. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    I think this bit of deep thinking is revealing:
    “Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual)”

    It’s a topic for another day, I know, but to me, this reveals the writer as someone of a particular kind of shallowness.  One who mistakes sentiment for meaning, possibly says “Dude!” a lot (without irony), and craves the insights he gets from inhaling chemical vapors.

    This reads a lot like a parody one of us might make of San Franciscans’ mindsets.  Is the author’s attitude, “spiritual” insights and all, actually common in San Francisco, or is he an outlier even there?

    • #23
  24. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Tim H.:

    I think this bit of deep thinking is revealing: “Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual)”

    It’s a topic for another day, I know, but to me, this reveals the writer as someone of a particular kind of shallowness. One who mistakes sentiment for meaning, possibly says “Dude!” a lot (without irony), and craves the insights he gets from inhaling chemical vapors.

    This reads a lot like a parody one of us might make of San Franciscans’ mindsets. Is the author’s attitude, “spiritual” insights and all, actually common in San Francisco, or is he an outlier even there?

     That whole comment is probably racist, or homophobic, or something.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • #24
  25. La Tapada Member
    La Tapada
    @LaTapada

    “…no place on earth is more peaceful today than it was in 2008 — despite Barack Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.” This would be great rewritten into a pithy bumper sticker.

    • #25
  26. user_836033 Member
    user_836033
    @WBob

    In his own autobiography, Obama flat-out stated that he is a screen onto which people project their own image of what they want him to be.   The 2008 election is the first time in history, that I am aware of, that a nation chose for itself a member of a minority ethnic group to be its leader.  One would like to think he was chosen without regard to his race, but this is not what happened.  So the historical uniqueness is even more striking:  the leader was chosen not just in spite of his racial minority status, but actually because of it.  The answer is surely to be found in Shelby Steele’s observation that some black politicians are “challengers” (like Jesse Jackson) and some are “bargainers” (like Obama).  The latter  offer whites a feeling of racial innocence by means of an implied transaction: you don’t hold my race against me, I don’t assume you’re a racist.  The white then feels absolved of guilt.  Thus the messiah like glow Obama had/has– because that’s what a messiah does: he takes away your guilt.

    • #26
  27. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Randy Webster:

    I assume that Mark Morford didn’t lose his job, even though he couldn’t have been more wrong if he’d set out to be. 

    Well I don’t about that.

    Obama is really a dangerously elitist political salesman whose inexperience will lead us further into darkness

    I think he rather nailed it with this line.  

    • #27
  28. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Roberto:

    Well I don’t about that.

    Obama is really a dangerously elitist political salesman whose inexperience will lead us further into darkness

    I think he rather nailed it with this line.

     I missed that one.  As they say around here “Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.”

    • #28
  29. user_566710 Inactive
    user_566710
    @JimLakely

    genferei:

    (continued from #7)

    To hear Mr. Newport Beach tell it, my president is a downright monster. Who cares if he ended the war, saved the economy, restored America’s stature in the world, nailed Osama bin Laden, invested billions in clean energy, partially reformed what is still the most expensive, least effective health care system in the industrialized world, or made the rich even richer? The guy’s the worst thing to ever happen to America. I mean, obviously. Now who wants more wine?

    There are people that really believe this. And get paid for writing this.

     Yikes! I didn’t think Mumford could be any more obtuse, but he doubled down … infinately, it seems.

    • #29
  30. user_566710 Inactive
    user_566710
    @JimLakely

    Ryan M:

    I’m glad someone posted that 2008 article… It truly is amazing.

    Nice post, by the way.

     Thanks, Ryan. As the commenters above point out, the guy is utterly hopeless. Obama can do absoutely no wrong in his eyes. All failures are either not really failures, or are the fault of others.

    Mumford belongs to a cult. Good luck with reason.

    • #30

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