Lets not make the mistake of thinking carelessly about this fact, however. Hope and change can be addictive kinds of ideas, in large part because they are so vague. The listener gets to fill in the blank so to speak. These ideas call to our imagination of what we might want the future to reveal, and by their very vagueness they enable us to imagine that our hopes for change are what is to come.
That a politician speaks like a preacher should not surprise us either. There he is with his face upraised, looking to us all like he sees a brighter future. In tone of voice and posture he sings his song - see, he says, we can find better days. It is intoxicating, which is why I called it an addiction, and want to offer here some serious caution.
The fact is during the whole of his campaign he had no real concrete ideas about what to do. Oh, he sketched stuff out, but everywhere this concrete content was carefully analyzed it didn't pass muster. Just more empty calorie political bullshit. A new face and even some new words, but at heart its all the same tired old promises.
In my earlier political writing I pointed out that we could elect a saint to the White House and little would change, because the problem is not who is president, or which party controls, but the very substance of the institutions themselves. The problems with the economy, with the War in Iraq, with just about any issue you can name - these problems are symptoms of something. They are not the fundamental illness, and newer band-aides on older already rotting band-aids isn't going to change anything.
There is a need for change, and perhaps even a reason for hope. But Barack Obama is part of the problem, and to the extent he sells us the opiate of a delusion, he serves other masters than the People of America. We'll get feel good speeches, but no reform of banking, no reform of the electoral processes, no reform of the military-industrial complex, no real change.
The good in this is that as time goes on, more and more people are going to recognize that government (at least as presently constituted) belongs to the Lords of Finance, and that we are pretty much on our own (remember the lesson of Katrina). The kind of economic downturn we are facing is just a very slow moving Katrina-like social process - what I have elsewhere called "the third-worlding" of America. Once we accept being on our own though, then we can actually start to do something, but that is a story for another time.