Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The HuffPo Strikes Again: "Hope" Is Not a Buzz Word by John Mayer

Another Huffington Post coup!

John Mayer speaks and, let me tell you, when it comes to politics he plays his hand pretty close. Outside of a some jokes exchanged about Ron Paul or Ru Paul with friends outside of a NYC hot spot last year and the inclusion of his hit single "Waiting on the World to Change" on Voices of a Grassroots Movement, which is the Obama campaign CD, John Mayer hasn't said much on the upcoming election.

However today, I woke to see an RSS link on my iGoogle page to a Huffington Post blog that John had written.

Here is is, in full:

"Hope" Is Not a Buzz Word

I was 23 years old when the nation was attacked on September 11, 2001. I can remember hearing pundits say "this changes everything" and "things will never be the same." Obviously it was a tragic and traumatic event, but that sentiment has carried on through the better part of my twenties. If you were 43 years old on that day, I would imagine it was a difficult concept to get your head around as well, but if you were a young adult just entering his or her individual life, there was an added twist; how can you process the idea of everything changing and things never being the same when you have no point of reference for what "everything" and "the same" is? I was just beginning to put my hands on the world around me, to interact and engage with it, and to actualize the dream of being an adult in a free society. To wait in line for 23 years only to have the "sorry, future canceled" sign flipped in my face was depressing, to say the least.

The social and political narrative of the last eight years, if you're a young adult, has been "you are the first generation of the second half of the rest of human existence." That's a huge psychological undertaking, and I believe it's one that will someday be diagnosed on a massive scale as having led to a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Something has to explain away our premature obsession with 1980s nostalgia.) My generation has come to know itself as the generation that should have seen the good days, my, were they spectacular, now take off your shoes and place them on the belt.

What Barack Obama says to me is these days are good for something. Just when I'd thought my only role as an adult was to help shoulder the nation through its darkest days (known to us as "the rest of them"), Obama gives me the feeling that I could be alive to witness one of the most brilliant upturns in a country's history. Imagine that -- a young adult in this day and age being given something to someday brag to his children about having being alive to witness. What a concept.

That's why hope is a worthwhile commodity. To those who question whether hope is a tangible product worth building a campaign around, I'd say take a look at despair and how powerful that has been in reshaping how people think and live. I believe the definition of the "hope" that Barack Obama enthuses operates on the unspoken thesis that there has to be a polar opposite to the despair of 9/11. Because if we accept that there's not, the will to live becomes forever altered. To adults who will vote for him, Barack Obama represents a return to prosperity. To the youth, he represents an introduction to it.

So, John, for what it's worth, thanks for letting people know it's okay to have hope.

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  1. I've always wondered what things were like in 1946, when everybody looked at the bombed out cities and things, and thought, "Jesus. Now what the hell are we gonna do about this?"

    You've seen this one, right?

  2. Well, realize that but for Pearl Harbor everything being rebuilt was in Asia or Europe. The American perspective then was much different than, let's say, the British or French perspective.

    America swung into action following Keenan's "Long Telegram" advice with the Marshall Plan and policies to try to contain the USSR.

    BTW, whatever the link was, it's down now, so I've not seen it. I'm not a big YouTube clicker ;)

  3. they did part two of the "Don't vote" ad that came out a few weeks ago. This one includes Borat. If you go to youtube and type in "don't vote 2" it'll be the first result to come up

    It has a few great moments, and more famous people than you can shake a stick at.

    That's true: 9/11 might have been the first "Holy Effing Shit!" moment in American living memory...I wonder, though, how 9/11 was seen through the eyes of people who DO remember things like the firebombing of Dresden.

  4. Yeah, well that was my argument when my fellow Americans were acting as if 9/11 was the first terrorist attack ever. It wasn't we'd had terrorist attacks on our own soil before. Timothy McVeigh and the Federal Building back in 1994 (or, I think it was 1994). That was shocking and horrible.

    However, we forget that English frequently got attacks from the NRA before they agreed to stop their attacks. So we can bump it up to more modern times than WWII.

    The fact is Americans let themselves be ruled by fear since then and we're going to pay for that in a big way.

    I found the video. Blogging that after I hit "publish" ;)



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