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Denver 2008: Hope Is For The Weak

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Presidential Politics 2008 - Obama
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
hope_bongby BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
As the Democratic wing of America's permanent ruling party convenes in Denver, Democrats have dominated the Congress for almost two years. There are more US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than in 2006 but no Democratic deadline to end these useless, predatory wars. 1.1 million African Americans languish behind bars while the dispossession and exile of hundreds of thousands of blacks from the Gulf Coast begins its fourth year. The convention will be a media circus and will culminate with the co-branding of Barack Obama with Dr. King's 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech is intended to establish deep symbolic references between the two in the minds of voters, despite their diametrically opposed politics.
Hope is a powerful drug indeed.

Denver 2008:  Hope Is For The Weak

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

You know you're addicted to a drug when you need it just to feel normal. By that standard, African Americans have been addicted to hope for a long, long time. Nothing wrong with that. As Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, from whom the title of this piece is borrowed points out, hope is seductive, it's attractive, and when times are hard, hope is absolutely necessary. We're all quite naturally attracted to those full of hope, while we pity or shun those without it. But if hope is much like a drug, it's also a lot like capital. Hope can be invested, wisely based on facts and a sober analysis of the forces in play, or it can be squandered foolishly, based on wishful thinking and outright lies. The air in Denver the last week of August will be full of hope. And full of lies.

Since hope is a limited thing, and sometimes all that we have, Jensen suggests that we ought to be realistic and tough-minded about where we invest it and how.  The nomination of the Democratic party's first black candidate is an historic occasion, to be sure.  But what is there in Denver to invest our hopes in?

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Tags: dnc, obama
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