There is a strange social phenomenon happening in Eugene, Oregon in that when I have been in the grocery store, the post office, the gas station, and the Thai restaurant I have heard people greet one another by smiling and saying, "Obama!"
"Obama!" the other person says in return.
Maybe the people knew each other. Maybe it was an inside joke.
Now, after hearing this salutation all over town for three days running, I am convinced it is something new under the sun. Under the rain in this case.
Even at the sprawling Morse Ranch Dog Park in South Eugene the dogs are more friendly.
"Barack! Barack!" Their tails are wagging.
The left, if it knows what is good for it (no guarantee there, of course), should put aside Horkheimer and Adorno's long standing thesis about only high culture producing social change. It was not a German that said, "A single spark can start a prairie fire! The smell of victory, even if it is only an electoral utter repudiation of the Republicans, should take the bull by the horns.
It should claim this moment as a people's statement for change, even a victory for change. Yes, if things don't change -- if there is no health care and the war in Iraq drags on and a new war opens in Pakistan -- then there might be hell to pay. The only good politician has all the masses of people shouting his or her name, standing behind him (or her), proding onward, pitchforks at rump level.