Will we even need indymedia anymore?
Now I've got your attention, so I'd like to share a story and share some of my thoughts and/or concerns about this future we're heading into, a future which some might say is like the daylight after a long night, and in any case will be as different from the past eight years as to be unrecognizable.
A couple days ago I left a comment (contributed to an article) about local election results, I believe it was titled "Local election results" in which I wrote about the sea of blue we now find ourselves in--two of the bluest states (WA & OR) in a country that went decidedly blue this year.
And for a moment, when I was writing that, I felt pretty good. But after I submitted my comment, I was kind of jolted. I don't know exactly what it was, or if there's an English word to describe what I felt, (just as it's hard to describe 'deja vu' in English terms), but it was kind of a jolt which left me momentarily stunned. (it wasn't ecstasy)
I had been planning on going somewhere--it was Wednesday night and I felt like going out and doing something, to celebrate the election, in a quiet way. But I couldn't bring myself to go anywhere, for some reason. (on Tuesday I was too tired to do anything, so I didn't even contemplate going anywhere). So there I was, wanting to do what I should've done on Tue. night, but it just wasn't working out.
The irony of this, of course, is that I'd just written about being in this new sea of blue. I think what happened is that I became fixated on the phrase "sea of blue" and, like someone leaving a really good movie, I was momentarily stunned, temporarily in another world that I didn't want to come out of.
And so the broader themes here are how do we maintain our enthusiasm and optimism in light of the political changes at the national level, and, when we become unfixated on the results of the election, and turn back to day-to-day life, or whatever, what has changed? How do we gauge the changes that such a political reversal will bring? When will we know that changes are beginning?
One of the fears I had earlier this year in regard to the prospect of an Obama presidency, was that the change would be too dramatic--the shift in power would be too dramatic and unsettling, and that this country wouldn't be able to handle it. I think that economically and politically this country can handle the change, but I think that culturally there will be some problems, (and of course it's not too clear what the economy is going to do--before even being sworn in, part of Obama's mandate has been dictated to him by the financial crisis).
Culturally, the shift from Bush to Obama is even more stark than night and day. The Bush regime, with its wars and attacks against domestic liberties, has bred a culture of violence, not just in the political sense, (which is common throughout US history) but in the culture and the fabric of the country. The wars have been so brutal, and the attacks against civil liberties so persistent, that they have bred a new culture. But Bush also represents the more traditional aspects of US politics: white, conservative, Christian, Southern, (or thereabouts).
From that, we're switching to a president who couldn't be more of an opposite to Bush. He's black, on the progressive side, and not committed to a culture of violence as Bush and the people around him have been. These differences, I think, might be what leads to problems down the road. Where does all that violence go? Can the media turn it into something else? Will economic pain tend to make us forget about the violence?
Not to be too pessimistic, or to sound any alarm bells, I do think that US culture, as diverse as it is, at certain levels will have trouble absorbing an Obama presidency. The media, of course, has already gotten a jump start on defining the Obama presidency. Watching CNN yesterday, (glancing at it is more accurate), I learned that a town in Japan named Obama celebrated Obama's victory with a group of folks doing a Hawaiian dance. And it was reported that in Kenya at least a couple newborn babies had been named Barack. What else can the media do? They have no guide or precedent here, so out come the fluff stories which emphasize Obama's differences from mainstream society, (a different-sounding name). They're on their way to making him look like a clown.
And so, to sum up, I would remind readers of the earlier questions: how do we gauge the coming changes, and when will we know that changes are beginning? One task for everyone that lies ahead will be sifting through the media coverage of ongoing financial crises, and news of "economic recovery." This will overshadow news about the first steps of the Obama administration, just as it dominated the news for a couple months leading up to the election.
Clark County news
I'll end here with some news about the CC (clark county) and WA. Gov. Chris Gregoire was reelected on Tuesday in a race that wasn't as close as predicted. The final tally was something like 54%-46%. Transportation was a major issue in this race, but another major aspect of the race was the support republican Dino Rossi received from the Building Industry Association, a conservative, anti-union trade organization that supports deregulation of the construction industry and a lessening of the power of unions.
The BIA's support for Rossi was controversial, and led to a lawsuit accusing the BIA and Rossi of coordinating their political campaigns. The BIA was by far Rossi's biggest financial backer.
Surprisingly, Clark County was split 50-50 on the governor's race. In 2004 Clark County supported Rossi, one of the few counties west of the Cascades in which the majority voted for Rossi. Clark County voted about 55-45 for Obama, according to Columbian.com.
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