Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

The Power of Image: Presidential Election, 2008

Originally posted on July 2, 2008

Today I heard on the news that both McCain and Obama separately have been talking up the idea encouraging people to become involved in giving to the community. It’s a good idea, but it needs a wave of positive emotion from the youth of America, and only Obama is really engaging the youth in a spirit of change. The impact of the war is generating a cultural divide much as what happened in the Vietnam war—a war that also showed little promise of yielding any substantial increase in security for our country, a war that was acting as a painful drain of life, casualty, psychiatric disorders in veterans, and an unthinkably expensive drain from an economy that cannot afford adventures to police the world.

Indeed, the power to inspire is itself an important reason to vote for Obama. It’s not issue-based, it’s image-based. It has to do with charisma and cultural enthusiasm and, in Obama’s case, there are a number of factors playing into it: Youth, being bi-racial, voice tone, being against the war— while these are by no means issue-based, they are significant.

About race: Many young people are influenced by a pop sports, video and music culture that celebrates multi-racial performers. There is an awareness of continuing racism in certain sectors of the population—generally associated with older and/or more regional sub-populations—and many if not most youth perceive  racism to be a prime motive of that sector of electorate that is not so much for McCain as against Obama. Perception plays into overall motivation.

The desire for change is so strong that there is a plausible reason to believe in the probability of an upliftment of our country’s morale if Obama is elected, and a corresponding disconnect, alienation, and disaffection if McCain is elected.

Of course, the issues are also meaningful, but that’s for another discussion.

Talking with another friend who is a history buff, he noted that Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t know what to do about the Depression. He tried things and if they weren’t working, he tried something else after 90 days or so. Perhaps the biggest thing he did was to raise and sustain the morale of the country through his radio broadcasts. This fit with the point I’m making above.

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