At first it seems like a defeatist thing to say that it’s time to stop hoping, but the quality of hope depends upon the context. When liberal author David Swanson quotes Friedrich Nietzsche as calling hope “the most evil of evils because it prolongs man’s torment”, he’s speaking in terms of Barack Obama.
In 2008, Obama told Americans he was the choice of “hope” and “change”. However, when Obama actually took office, he didn’t produce the changes that he said he would.
Obama didn’t change George W. Bush’s tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. He didn’t change military tribunals for prisoners in Guantanamo. He didn’t change the American resistance to doing anything about climate change. He didn’t change the unconstitutional Office of Faith Based Initiatives. He didn’t change the surveillance state. He didn’t change the USA’s drain of resources into the longest wars in our nation’s history.
What change Barack Obama has been willing to make has been the wrong kind of change. Over the last month, Obama has made it clear that he’s quite willing to change Social Security and Medicare, to cut benefits that American workers have already paid for.
Liberals have given Obama two and a half years to finally turn around and deliver. Yet, the more time passes, the further Barack Obama moves to the Right.
David Swanson says that it’s time to stop hoping that Barack Obama is going to become the liberal President people thought he would be. Swanson says that it’s time for liberals to make a change of their own – and find a new presidential candidate to represent their ideals.
Challenging American liberals to put down their passive hope in Obama and take up once again the active role in pushing forward progressive change, Swanson writes,
“Change is a far less dangerous notion than hope. But change is something we do, not something we hope somebody else does for us. They don’t do it for us. Stepping aside and cheering for the team defending the richest 1 percent or the other team defending the richest 5 percent is deadly and treasonous.
The time for spectatorship is over. If you want Obama to be challenged in a primary or a general election, and if you have an idea of the best candidate to do it, make your voice and all of our voices heard.”
On his new web site, Stop Hoping, Swanson has been holding an online poll to see just who liberals would like to see challenge Barack Obama from the Left in 2012. The top 5 results, in order, are:
Who’s your choice to challenge Obama?