Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is Barack Obama the Chosen One?

"He is the Chosen One...he will...bring balance."

- Qui-Gon Jinn's dying words in The Phantom Menace

There is a lot of talk about Barack Obama being an almost messianic political figure. Some of my fellow pundits have quibbed that Barack has "jumped the matrix" by 20 years, meaning that he's essentially has shifted the political landscape 20 years with his historic campaign for President. Has Barack Obama really, "jumped the matrix?" Is he the transformative political figure who will be to the left what Reagan was to the right?

More than yes or no, I think the answer is he'll have to be. I believe Barack Obama, if elected, must figure out a way to keep this unique coalition energized, while ensuring a second term. He would go the White House with more pressure, scrutiny and expectations than any President than history. Senator Barack Obama could soon find himself in the unenviable position of a mythical Neo or Anakin Skywalker, forced to carry the burden of saving the world.

How does Obama pull this off? He will have execute a political strategy that moves forward enough liberal initiatives to placate his base, while holding onto independents and moderates. At the same time he'll have to do this while as media ends their honeymoon and the GOP refines their game plan. He'll go into office immediately preparing his re-election campaign, trying to balance a delicate coalition, campaign promises and the political realities of being the leader of the free world.

The only way he can pull this off is by being the chosen one. What does that mean? It means he must bring to bear his biggest strength, the people. He must figure out how to continue to mobilize his base to move his liberal agenda forward. It is not himself that makes him the chosen one, it is the people. It is the people that he inspires who can improve the environment, reform health care and fix the economy. The community organizer who would be President will have to use a page from that old Chicago organizing playbook:

"Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict."
-Saul Alinsky

This means he must agitate his coalition to agitate him to make change. If he's the Chosen One, he'll pull it off. The video below is dedicated to those would-be Chosen Ones.


k said...

An eloquent commentary K. Through his words he has already freed millions from the Matrix that has told us we aren't good enough, that we can't make a difference. And inspired them to take up the cause and create the future of our design.

Khari Mosley said...


biko said...


Andrea said...

Watching that video I was remembering Janet Maslin's review of the Matrix when it first came out -- Keanu Reeves proves it's possible to be a convincing action hero while still looking like a Prada model.

I think that's Obama's challenge, too -- to be a convincing action hero while still looking like the beautiful ideal vision of tomorrow.