25 February 2008

Vote Barack Huckabee in 2008

My seven-year-old son has decided to endorse Barack Huckabee for President. His older brother employed nine-year-old wisdom to explain that there is no such person, but I’m not so sure about that. Perhaps the younger boy’s connection between the two comes from that otherworldly insight we often get from children.

I will not be the first to point out a similarity between Obama and Huckabee, but I find the point worrisome enough that regurgitating the thoughts of others is worth the Clintons accusing me a plagiarism. Of course, I’m not suggesting that their politics are all that similar -- Obama has been rated the most liberal Senator in America while Huckabee is so conservative that he probably hates NASCAR because of all those left turns. What I and a host of internet voices are talking about is the cult of personality.

Nothing can get the blood pumping like a pulpit pounding politician. And when their speeches seem to take on spiritual significance even a hardened heart may skip a beat. It’s not about substance. It’s not about understanding. It’s about belief through belonging. Both men have attracted a loyal following of folk who want to be a part of something they hope is significant. In fact, “hope” is the operative word as it draws the discontented to demagogues. Granted, Obama has attracted larger numbers of the discontented, but he has also out spent every other candidate while Huckabee’s folk are holed up in shabby rent-a-dump campaign fronts (sans Che Guevara posters). But money is irrelevant when there is hope. As long as they follow that powerful personality and belong to something perceived as greater than themselves, they can believe. They can hope.

There have been great people who have provided hope through both charisma and content of action -- Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., The Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Teddy Roosevelt . . . the list could go on. But I don’t think that we are seeing that today. And I’m afraid that there are many who can not or will not see the difference.

As for my son, he has made his decision. He is for Barack Huckabee and I can’t find fault with his choice. It certainly brings him a sense of hope and belonging and demonstrates the same level of political acumen and maturity that I’m hearing from many of those actually registered to vote. And now that he’s made his decision, where does he send that .25 cent campaign contribution?

2 comments :

  1. amba said...

    Interesting! I've also been comparing Obama and Huckabee lately, but in another sense: each has ties to his party's extreme base, which wants things the majority does not want. Huckabee decided just to be the candidate of the base; Obama is torn.

  2. Khaki Elephant (Paul) said...

    Excellent point. Perhaps Huckabee's decision is based on practicality, realizing that Bush was able to defeat McCain by appealing to the far-right activists who tend to flock during the primary season. But it seems those birds split between Huck and Romney this time around. Could it be that Obama's charisma has allowed him to stay away from lefter-than-thou politics? Especially with Edwards out of the race.