Obama, Slow Food Nation, progressive culture (rare political post)

Working this am, then heading to Slow Food Nation in SF for the afternoon. Everything is sold out, but we are going to go explore the markets and soak up ambiance. Somehow, going to Slow Food after watching Obama last night seems just right.

Watching the acceptance speech, it struck me how much America has changed in the last 15 years, how much more bi-racial, integrated, and diverse the mainstream has become–and how little the administration of the country has recognized this (though our media programming has).

Not only is Obama a product of a mixed marriage, with strong ties to the (white) Midwestern farmland (they poured that on kind of heavy), he’s a New Deal progressive who is able to take the higher moral ground because of his short tenure in government and his relative inexperience (When he slammed McCain’s voting record, I loved it, but I also felt it was the trick only a junior Senator could pull off).  His position–that we are better than the past eight years and we want to be better–was highly moral, but it struck me as accurate in that many Americans are ashamed of many of our government’s choices–even if they are not unanimous on which ones are most embarassing.

My concern, though, as as we have become more progressive in our personal lives and how we are reflected in the culture–more diverse relationships, tolerance and acceptance for homosexuality, more unmarried couples and single parents, more single people, period–it doesn’t mean that we are any more progressive in our political views and policies, or that we, as a country, are more likely to embrace progressive politics.

 In fact, if you look at how badly the so called left and the progressive movement have fared in the past 5 years, it’s pretty depressing. There seems to be no center to progressive politics in the US, no coherence to anything we might call the last shred of the left, and no platform or vision to change any of that.

What I find fascinating about Obama is how adept he is at selling hope.  The man is a brilliant orator, and he’s amazingly able to make the feelings flow–watching him speak is as moving as watching the Yes We Can video that stirred so many people.

 But does hope translate into more progressive policies and true change? Somehow, I think it will take more than speeches to reawaken progressive action in America.