I’m not the only one. I had just turned twenty-three and it’s pretty safe to say that 10 out of 10 people my age voted Left that year.
2008 was the year I started paying attention to politics. I ate it up from the start, following the election like it was the Superbowl. I completely dove into the process– all day long, complete coverage. I started each A.M. with four hours of Morning Joe on MSNBC; listened to Rush Limbaugh till noon (so I could become educated on the opposition); read the Los Angeles Times late-edition in the P.M., and finally ended with nightly checkups on the Net to round off the day.
I kept this schedule for months. I was absolutely captivated by the glitzy world-wide media coverage of the ’08 elections and on more than one occasion the symbol of “Hope” cast an eerie blue hue across my bedroom at night while I dreamt…’Moth to the flame’ and all that…
You have to understand that I, like so many young people in my generation, were left with a bad taste in our mouths after President Bush, the Iraq War, and the seemingly hopeless hunt for Bin Laden. Most of us, myself included, blamed Bush and the reigning Republicans for just about everything we couldn’t wrap our heads around.
Soldiers were starting to come home that year; some were friends of mine, still kids like me. A few were going back to Iraq and others were doing everything they could to join the fight.
Other friends of mine never came home at all.
So when I saw white-haired Republicans, I saw red: one part passion and two parts misguided ideology.
War was a major factor, I think, in my decision to run with the ‘alternative to McCain’, whether it was Obama or Hillary or Daffy Duck. I was tired of “the Great Fear” as the late Hunter S. Thompson used to say, tired of sad war stories and rising Terror Threat Levels. A part of me longed to grab my friends and neighbors and withdraw from the chaos, to ride into the peaceful, ignorant bliss of blue…and who could blame me? Like everyone else, I’d spent the last seven years watching America shadowboxing the wicked in the furthest reaches of the planet, and then here comes a guy claiming to have the progressive, peaceful resolution to everything that was wrong in life. He said we’d been waiting for him. He said he was The Way.
Being the lone messenger of “Hope & Change” is a major platform to stand on, and while the concept is anything but fresh in the realm of political rhetoric, it was new to me and new to most voters my age.
And it wasn’t just Obama’s flashy marketing – I truly believed him when he said he’d make things better for the common folk, the American, because that was me, and my family, and my friends and neighbors. I (and a great deal of the voting populace) assumed so much when he spoke, presenting himself as the ‘hero with a plan’. We saw in him a peaceful resolution to our Big Mess, a mess that couldn’t possibly have a happy ending. I guess that’s why we Americans are told never to assume things…
To this day I still can’t tell you exactly what threw me into such frenzy about the ‘08 election. I do recall the deep, personal connection I felt to that race; not just to the candidates involved but also to my fellow voters, my fellow Americans, my peers… It was one of my first—albeit misguided- introductions to what I considered ‘patriotism’. Somewhere along the line the whole thing became almost semi-spiritual, an urgent ‘life or death scenario’, because of course the thing they were selling had the potential to help better your life. And who doesn’t want a better life?
I figure the nearest thing to describe the 2008 phenomenon of the Frenzied Obama Voters (FOV’s) would be the rabid state people got whipped into when the first generation of Apple iStuff (Frenzied Apple Buyes/FAB’s) was released. We stood in line, paid the price, and then took our perfectly packaged purchase home.
I wonder, however, what my fellow voters felt a year into their purchase when they—like me– all finally realized our votes paid for nothing but a very slick, well-packaged empty box.
I also wonder how it is that so many of those FOV’s avoided the inevitable buyers remorse that comes with a bad purchase, and are still perfectly happy playing with that utterly useless, empty box…
I suppose it is far more difficult to stand up and admit that not only were you wrong, but you’ve also been terribly wronged. Sadly, many don’t realize that by admitting this, it will free you up to move on and buy a different product with a bit more substance.
It is something amazing, though, isn’t it? That slick ‘Obama’ packaging, the slogans, the sales pitch they put out in ’08 (and again these past months)—it’s a lesson in sales and marketing, my friend. The best ad-men and women in the biz can be found in D.C., and no doubt they’re all busily polishing away another new Fall lineup for you, the Sacred Voter.
It’s a shame, really, that Obama’s team of salesman didn’t just stay in the private sector. With all their experience repackaging those old products they could have done so well pitching the next generation of Apple iStuff…