ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Obama Phenomenon

By any criterion, the inauguration of President Barack Obama is an unprecedented event, historic in its implications. Two million people gathered in a disciplined crowd and watched the ceremony in biting cold. That was proof indeed that American democracy had scored a major victory over powerful remnants of racism. Whatever the strategy of the campaign and the populism in the promises, it is a great step forward. But progressive democrats must study its repercussions closely. No doubt he has awakened a surge of hope and confidence among the masses of America. The condition of the economy with news of thousands being retrenched every day and consumers and investors still shell-shocked was an important contributory factor, and the purblind Republican policies are supposed to have been responsible for the crisis. The widespread disgust against the lies, atrocities and violations of human rights attending the “War on Terror” helped a lot to turn the tide against a darling of the conservative establishment. But Obama’s approach and electoral strategy must be credited for taking full advantage of the public mood.

First, he revived the moribund cliche of the “American Dream”, which not only still appeals to first and second generation immigrants, but with the sheer power of his rhetoric and personal conviction managed to blow the embers of the dying fire into glowing again. The ideal of every man/woman shaping his/her own destiny with his/her own will, intelligence and hard work, even in this age of monopoly capital, is still the lived ideology of A merica for want of a credible alternative but is assiduously propagated by powerful mass media, and apparently confirmed by the meteoric rise of hundreds of celebrities in the glittering world of entertainment and sports. Whatever the circumstances and the frequent lapses into cynicism, this bedrock faith appears to most people the only visible one on the horizon. Progressives in the Aesopian language have still a lot of ground to cover.

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