The Obama Phenomena: One World Arising

obama-and-clinton Many were suffering through the nightmare of the 8-year Bush administration. I too shook my head, and got to a point it was hard to read about yet one more crime against democracy, human rights and the average citizen.  And yet, another part of me that took a much longer historical perspective was smiling, knowing that even as Bush will probably go down in the history books as one of the worst presidencies ever in America, the ultra-reactionary forces that sustained his power are in the death-throes. The divided “good vs. evil” view of the world based on fear, ignorance and bias is slowly giving way to a new integral culture which sees the unity in life and is based on trust, cooperation, mutuality and compassion. 

This is the coming world I write about in One World Arising.  When I talk about the Obama phenomena, I am speaking about so much more than just this one man, but rather the global, transformation of which his candidacy is a part. Consider what Obama himself said about the improbability of his even running for President.  He’s not only a black man, but born in a foreign country, has a father who was a radical muslim, has Hussein for a middle name, and a lead competitor for the Presidency who is a woman now slated to be Secretary of State. And this all happened in two short years.

When we’re in a bad dream, it seems like it could go on forever.  Then, all of a sudden the scenery shifts so rapidly and unexpectedly, that we hardly have time to catch our breaths, much less unpack the significance of the change. Something of this kind of forgetfulness is happening now, and but for a handful of progressive bloggers who are seizing the enormity of the shift, few Americans truly appreciate the depth of change represented in the fact that this past election saw the first woman Presidential candidate running against the first African American candidate. We now have a firmly established precedent for a woman to hold the most powerful cabinet post (Madeleine Albright (under Clinton), Connie Rice (Bush), and now Hilary Clinton under Obama.  That so many women and people of color are entering top governmental posts at all is itself a huge sign of change when you reflect on the all white male cast of presidencies before President Jimmy Carter. 

In short the “playing field” in American politics is changing. What I mean by that is that the rules of engagement for both parties has had to shift to reflect the fact that  the USA is increasingly multi-ethnic, and that gender and racial tolerance is a norm which cannot be overlooked.  This seems like belaboring the obvious. But consider just a short fifty years ago, when 1950’s TV commercials depicted a prevailing image of women as proper mothers in dresses working happily for God and family in their kitchens. And just as bad, when segregation and discrimination against people of color was an accepted norm in much of the United States.