It's easy to be cynical, especially about politics. I suggest that there are several causes:
- The media encourage it by always seeking "balance". For example, McCain dog whistles his supporters into thinking Obama is a closet Muslim who will have them all shot, and the media try to find something, anything, bad to say about Obama's campaign to match that.
- The conservatives encourage it as a defence mechanism. They'd rather not say "I voted for a series of evil fucks who have destroyed the country and wrecked the lives of millions, while stealing everything that isn't bolted down and giving it to their mates in the corporations who own them, all because they promised a few dollar off my tax bill and I didn't care if the poor got shafted." So they say "all politicians are self serving, treacherous and beholden to the lobbyists, but we had to vote for the 'responsible' ones with a 'steady hand on the tiller.'" (what does that mean, by the way, when you look at what the neocons have done? Are you nuts?)
- Lazyness. If you'd rather not think about it, if you don't want to be wrong, if you can't be bothered taking a position you might have to defend, it's easy to say "aaah, they're all bastards."
- But the fundamental, the most pervasive and serious cause of cynicism, the one we all have to guard against, is that it hurts to care and hope and be passionate and have those hopes dashed and that passion turned against us.
We can't afford any kind of cynicism because it paralyses us and allows evil to flourish, but we especially can't afford the last kind, because it freezes our hearts. If that's what's happening, get angry, not cold. Right now, take the risk of hoping.
There are manipulative and self-serving men and women all through the political system, but I firmly believe Obama is not one of them. If he is to do more than Clinton, and he must, then he must do it from a grassroots movement. Not one which is ready to call him out for every slip (not that he gets a free pass), but one which expects and creates and supports change in all the middle ranks of administration of the country. The petty bureaucrats and policemen and secret policemen and corporate criminals and every other person who made out like a bandit under the authoritarian state the neocons encouraged - they all must be turned into compassionate humanists or they all must be overthrown. Letters, meetings, rallies, but more importantly a smile and a reasonableness and a positivity, and a refusal to accept the old ways.
That can be done, in this new climate. If you don't think there is a new climate then it's because we haven't created it yet.