About the having-a-new-and-awesome-and-different-saviour/president-of-the-USA thing:
The obsession with leaders – the private life of Sarkozy, the manipulativeness of Berlusconi, the new-found assertiveness of the Russians, a newly emollient China anxious to prove itself a modern, responsible power – suggest they are now flamboyant individuals rather than representatives; it is as though they have nothing to do with us. People of meagre talent and modest imagination now pose as “world leaders”, guides and instructors of an imaginary, shifting “international community”.
Preoccupation with individuals, of course, deflects attention from the powerlessness of the people, the voiding of democracy, even in places where the most highly sophisticated “electoral process” prevails. Leaders are keen to display their control over events over which they have waning influence, an influence they have willingly ceded to the stark urgencies of globalism. The great movements of goods and money around the world, and the vanity of efforts to deter humanity from following this licit and highly profitable mobility, clearly indicate the limits of their power.
The fascination with leaders is an alibi for democratic impotence. The tendency of people to disengage from electoral politics is not evidence of a terrible apathy, but is a perfectly understandable refusal to play their walk-on part in the farce of popular sovereignty. Whoever voted for globalisation? Where is the majority in favour of concentrations of wealth and power in a handful of individuals who control more wealth than the GDP of whole countries? Who cast a ballot in favour of the de-industrialisation of Britain? Who, indeed ever voted for the establishment of manufacturing industry in the first place? Where is the universal suffrage that produced inequality in the world, which even the collective might of the United Nations and its pious millennium goals appear incapable of putting into reverse?
No wonder so much must be invested in the leaders of tomorrow – the Obamas and Camerons, fair of mien and full of promise (like Tony Blair only yesterday) – since they too must defend an existing order which, at a time of crisis, must be “mended”, so that it will resume growth and expansion in perpetuity. For all our futures are already inscribed in the deterministic landscapes of universal industrial happiness. It is reminiscent of the middle ages, when rulers and kings, repenting their misdeeds, arranged for masses to be said “in perpetuity” in the cathedrals of Europe.
This came via Open Anthropology and is written by some English journalist whose intention was actually to enhance Gordon Brown, but it quite serves to some of my reasons for being a bit – maybe a lot – of an anarchist (utopical anarchist, for I know anarchy wouldn’t work. Nothing, ever, will fully work as a system, nor the lack of one will solve anything but freedom – which will always be threatened by something else, etc, etc, etc). I still and always will refuse to have anyone deciding for me, having power over me.
About the Obama thing:
Hope: Any buddhist would rant about the evil illusions and dangerous expectations. But I could never get to understand that emptiness fully, and probably never will: it’s unnatural to human condition. Period.
Charisma: Charismatic people are not better people, just attractive and magnetic. This people is also dangerous: they make you believe what they believe, they make you blind, they drag you. It’s not their fault, but it’s not fair if you happen to be a naïve.
Brains: This can truly make a difference. It looks quite important to have a good head full of common sense over the shoulders of the leader of one of the most important countries in the world, and it looks like Obama has one. So I am glad. And even hopeful.