There is story to every American. A story to their past, their present, and a dream of their future. Human beings are naturally attracted to stories, especially ones that captivate their attention and support their values and emotions. Author Daniel Quinn wrote in his 1992 novel Ishmael that “charisma only wins people’s attention,” and that “once you have their attention, you have to have something to tell them.” Quinn said that the people have to be told “a story.”
No one can tell a better story than President Barack Obama. It’s a story of intrigue, betrayal and facade. It’s the tale of the downfall of the greatest country in the world and the captivation of the greatest people on Earth. It’s America, and its time you and I know the truth.
Setting The Scene
On February 10th, 2007, then Junior Senator from Illinois Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president of the United States. From that day onward, America was quite literally never to be the same again. It was history in the making and democracy in the taking. Truth be told, the signs were all around, the vision clearly laid out in his plan to “change” America. A story that, alongside his charisma, challenged the emotions of the American people and provoked an overwhelming favorable response to his embodiment of that “change.”
Much like what Daniel Quinn called for, President Obama elicited the response of Americans with a sense of hope and calls for serious “change.” None can deny the dynamic public character our president possesses and that dynamism, paired with the story he carefully spun, explains our current situation. One also has to take into account the situation Americans were faced with in 2008: the prospect of a continuous war on two fronts abroad, a rough mortgage situation at home, and Republican Party fatigue from coast to coast. These issues were emotionally charged elements of the 2008 election and key fundamentals in the tale President Obama crafted to lead him to the presidency.
Following a string of victories on Super Tuesday, February 5th 2008, President Obama said: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” This quote epitomizes President Obama’s story for America, and how he discovered the power of empowerment and deployed it to the masses. Like him or not, President Obama went to the depth of many of the American people’s hearts and reached out to all Americans, challenging them to get involved, truly making them feel worthwhile — all key essentials to winning over someone. If you were to read any book on influence or control, an embryo of power starts with asking for a favor, for there is no better way to make an enemy a friend then to show trust and set up a task.
With the task President Obama deployed he sought help and more importantly a vote, but what he successfully did was equate a vote to a voice, a voice to cause, and a cause to change. The voice started with a person’s pledged vote for his election, and a cause started with their involvement in his campaign, and a change started with his election to the Presidency. This was indeed a successful equation, as Barack Obama built perhaps the greatest campaign machine in modern history, but it certainly was not an equation without fault.
What the American people have come to realize is that surely a vote equals a voice, and a cause may very well equal a change, but President Obama does not equal current representation of the American people — not their values, their beliefs, or their current emotions, all key elements to a successful story. President Obama played to the emotions of the American people during his campaign but has seemingly forsaken their thoughts and emotions following his election. He promised everything that America wanted, and was apt in incorporating his promises in his campaign but ostensibly unaware when it came to instituting the American people’s input in his legislative manifestation of change. And now, the tale of hope and change has begun to shift towards reality and calamity.
In reality, the American people knew that “change” of the magnitude President Obama called for during his campaign in 2008 would cause fundamental shifts in the American government. Despite the nebulous nature of “change,” they were okay with it, they felt it was a reform they supported, and they even believed a change in government would equal a better quality of life. However, the reality of President Obama’s election and subsequent legislative path has meant more than a dramatic adjustment in government — it has meant a striking change in the way everyday Americans live their life.
In reality, it has been a change that many American’s now regret voting for, evident by President Obama’s 53 percent disapproval rating, according to March 30th Rasmussen poll.
And it’s not just those crazy and violent and racist and terrible tea partiers who are angry with the President, it’s the everyday American who happens to be a registered Democrat and who happens to have voted for the president in 2008 and who now understands that a vote for President Obama meant more than a shift in policy and government but rather a shift towards socialism, a shift towards larger government, and a serious shift towards American decline.
It is amazing to see how, in retrospect, the 2008 issues of continuous war, mortgage crisis, and Republican Party fatigue had enveloped the everyday American and how now, two years later and at least as far as the media is concerned, things have changed. The continuous war so harped upon then is now played down by the media, underreported and displayed rather precariously through the lens of a liberal media who support the president. And rather than a “mortgage crisis,” it is now a matter of economic recovery, with the problems of two years ago being blamed on the free market as a whole and delivered to the doorsteps of America. And rather than Republican Party fatigue, it is now Republican Party failure and obstructionism, yet Republicans neither occupy the majority of the House nor the Senate, and certainly not the White House.
In reality, with the possible exception of Republican Party fatigue, these campaign issues of 2008 haven’t changed one bit, but have instead been given a spit-and-polish-and-spin job by the press.
Recovery and reinvestment in America means more than spending massive amounts of taxpayer money and enacting the single largest entitlement program in American history, it means actively listening to and representing the American people. This starts with correcting the tale President Obama spun to capture the American people.
President Obama spoke of “change.” Do we currently need “change?” Absolutely. We must absolutely change the way Washington operates and, even more so, the irresponsible policy coming out of it. We have to convince the American people that the “change” put forth by President Obama and the Democratic Party leadership is a regression of freedom and liberty, of possibility and perseverance, that rather than hope and change it must be input, discussion, and responsible implementation.
No doubt about it, President Obama empowered and motivated the masses. Are the American people actively motivated now? Sure. The American people are rising up and demanding a voice in their government, not because they decided they wanted to arbitrarily get involved but because they no longer feel connected with the policy in Washington or with President Obama. The people are angry, the people are disenfranchised, and those two things conflict with President Obama’s fairy tale takeover. If President Obama doesn’t account for and address the anger of the American populace, it will overpower his story, turning 2010 and 2012 into the years of true change.
In the hit American musical Ragtime, there is a line in the song “Make Them Hear You” that says: “Go out and tell our story, let it echo far and wide, make them hear you.” These words are the mission of the American people. We must get out, take a page from President Obama’s presidential campaign of 2008 and empower, motivate and employ. People are ready to engage in government and put forth solutions, but we have to make them aware that the opportunity is there. We have to canvass like the President did in 2008, we have to organize like he did in 2008, and we have to work hard like he did in 2008. As of now, the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. The tall tale of President Obama is over and its now time for the American people to once again tell the true story of their past, their present, and the dreams of their future.