Barack Obama and hope

Senator Barack Obama, in New Hampshire this week to test his mettle on the hustings, spoke of Americans’ desire for hope. He believes that was the message sent on election day.

Senator Obama has undoubtedly looked at all the polls, all the after-election analyses — and he was amazingly prescient on the perils and outcomes of the Iraq invasion — so he is probably right on the “desire for hope” thing as well.

But I think America needs a Big Idea candidate, a leader who compels by force of reason and inspiration the avid collaboration of citizen with government. A latter day John Kennedy with Peace Corps caliber proposals, a new mission-to-the-moon appeal to the nation’s imagination. A leader who offers more than hope, who calls for participation, even sacrifice, to achieve goals that are fast becoming imperatives.

Goals such as: Universal Health Care; a radically different relationship with energy; a humble recognition that there are no technological substitutions for ecosystem services; trade and finance controls that acknowledge that economies and markets exist to serve the needs of people and society — and that people are not mere servants of the economy, nor are they market commodities.

I’m hoping for more than hope, aren’t you?

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