Can Obama Help Us Break Free from the Matrix?

I've mentioned before how those of us who want to start being treated like adults by politicians and the media have a vested interest in Obama's success this election. Reading about Obama's rebellion against a purely pandering gas tax holiday proposal reconfirms my sentiments (from the Boston Globe):

Barack Obama is not backing down in his opposition to a so-called gas tax holiday this summer. If anything, he's becoming more vocal in calling it a bad idea and slamming John McCain and Hillary Clinton for proposing it.

He told voters in Winston-Salem, N.C., this afternoon that suspending the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gas tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day would save them only about $25 to $30.

Some economists, he said, believe the proposal could backfire and actually raise prices by increasing demand. "We don't know that the oil companies will actually pass on the savings," he added.

And by taking revenue away from the Highway Trust Fund, which finances road and bridge repairs, the gas tax holiday could delay badly needed improvements and cost thousands of construction jobs, including 7,000 in North Carolina, he told voters.

"This is the problem with Washington," Obama declared. "We're arguing over a gimmick that will save you half a tank of gas. It's not an idea to get you through the summer. It's an idea to get them through an election."
The Clinton and McCain strategy here is to placate voters by pretending that a gas tax holiday will solve a problem when it won't. They know this, and we know this. And McCain and Clinton are relying on the willingness of voters to be lied to while knowing they're being lied to. This type of politics--transactional politics--is exactly what's on trial in this election. Are we going to continue telling politicians that we're stupid by validating their behavior toward us? That we are happy to continue being pandered to? That we accept their kind of politics as "just the way it is"?

Or are we going to choose a kind of politics--transformational politics--that is about washing away the pretense and getting to the root of our problems? Obama has had moments of proving that he thinks higher of us than others do. He has had moments of speaking to us in a way that challenges us to be better than we're used to being treated. Sometimes--like before the Pennsylvania primary--he has shown signs of doubt. Either unsure about our ability to live up to expectations or unsure about his own ability to help us live up to them. Sloughing off the old politics is scary and tough. So, we need to be committed and know to our bones that it's possible.

This gas tax holiday proposal may seem like a minor issue--unworthy of this big debate. But the real questions in this election are much bigger. Can Obama help us help ourselves out of this fake reality in which we are confined by pretense and distraction? Can we prove ourselves worthy of a president who doesn't try to cajole us with lapel pins, jello molds, and phony legislation? Can Obama prove himself worthy of an electorate who is going to challenge his ideas and force him to be secure in himself and in us? Fighting back on the little issues is a necessary step toward fighting back on the big ones. And by fighting back on the gas tax holiday, Obama is reminding us why he has gotten as far as he has in this election.

Deep down, people crave the red pill.

Donate to Obama's campaign to get yourself a new kind of politics!

UPDATE: Here's someone who agrees (h/t BryAnn and via the Kos):

UPDATE 2: Here's a not entirely new video clip of George Stephanoupolis agreeing as well:

Old is new again.

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Nothing New byslag at 9:36 PM

4 dispense karmic justice! (or just comment here):

WNG said...

I just gave $25 to Obama's campaign (my fourth time). I haggled with myself over it as the G is not quite flush and it's a while til payday, but in the end I had to put my money where my mouth is. Thanks for making me feel (even) better about it!

slag said...

Right on, G. I haggled my own self when donating. But you should definitely feel good about it! In the end, we'd kick ourselves for not doing everything we could to break free from the matrix.

Gye Greene said...

Great graphic; this would **definitely** be t-shirt worthy. :)

M3 impressed at your sk!11z0rz!!!


slag said...

GG: Thx!

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