Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mass Hypnosis and Shared Delusions

“I dreamed I was an Obama girl. I had a chance to be in the same room with him for the first time. There were dark velvet chairs and he was standing there with all this dark and mist around him. His lips so purple and sensuous as if to be otherworldly..."

Ewwwww... creepy!!!!! Creepier stilll, this soft porn dream is not an isolated incident out there in slumberland among the Faithful. This is just one of the disturbing dreams reported in a piece from the New York Times last week, about the cult of familiarity surrounding Obama.

Not only are women and men having sexual dreams about him, but many have deluded themselves into believing they are insiders in his life. People truly think they "know" him, know what he is really like, what his marriage is like. They feel like they have a special understanding with him. They feel like he is "one of them", and that he would recognize that about them if they were ever to get in a room with him.

Isn't that what celebrity stalkers usually think?

Yet because previously sane Americans are engaged in this delusion, it has somehow gotten legitimacy enough that people actually admit to living in Obama fantasy land. Scary stuff...

"It was that sense so many people share of having a very immediate connection to Barack Obama, whether they’re black or biracial, or children of single parents or self-made strivers; or they’re lawyers or community organizers or Ivy League graduates or smokers or basketball players or Blackberry users or parents or married or Democrats. A lot of people share the fantasy that having the Obamas over for “dinner and a game of Scrabble,”...

The article goes on to describe a new phenomenon - Obama-inadequacy - the feeling people have that they are not worthy of him.

May I just pause here and say oh my god!

The writer concludes with the one note of sanity in this report from kool-aid land:

"This is, perhaps, the price of faux-familiarity. If I were Barack Obama (or Michelle, for that matter), I’d be a little scared. After all, when people are wearing their egos on their sleeves, it’s so easy to bruise their feelings. What will happen if fantasy turns to contempt?"

And we've seen this faux-familiarity bubble burst not so long ago. Remember the legions of people who bought into the "if you don't support the invasion of Iraq you aren't a patriot" meme? Bush was our 9/11 president, tough on terrorists, and dammit if he said we had to invade Iraq to fight terrorism, by god that's all we need to know.

It became a referendum on patriotism. Anyone who was opposed to invading Iraq was giving aid and comfort to the enemy, was dissing the sacrifices of American men and women in uniform AND their families. Those who were pretty sure Bush was lying about the WMDs had to sit down and shut up.

After the invasion, when the deaths of our soldiers became real, along with mind-boggling numbers of dead civilians, the truth finally, years too late, came out. There were no WMDs and never had been. Bush lied and sent our children to Iraq to fight and die over a lie.

As the invasion dragged on, as proud parents of military children had to bury them, or see them come home damaged and depressed - suicidal - only then did the tide turn against Bush. It was painful to watch those who had stood staunchly behind him have to face the reality that they had been had. I felt sad to see friends who had embraced patriotism and backed a president discover the depths to which he had betrayed us all.

We will see this again, with Obama. It is inevitable. On inauguration day, he was put on a pedestal so high that we couldn't even see him. Three weeks into his presidency, as he backtracks on promises, fumbles the stimulus, fails as a leader - as he misjudged voters willingness to overlook Dasche's limosine tax problems and had other nominees withdraw because of their own shady tax status, he is starting to look like what he is - human. Inexperienced. Flawed. What those of us who didn't get hypnotized saw from day one.

He isn't a bad man. But he isn't a savior. Or the answer. Or the change we can believe in. He is a politician that got himself elected, and finds himself in unfamiliar territory - actually having to do the job. He can't log 143 days in the White House then go campaign for his next political office. This is it.

In the meantime, people still talk about him as if they grew up in his neighborhood or have had long talks with him and know his mind. The wake up call will be long in coming, and the kool-aid hangover will be just as bitter as the one that humbled the Bush war supporters.

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