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    The world as it should be ...

    On the same night I wrote about the idealistic Sixties and how the eventual disillusionment that followed has continued to hold its grip on the American psyche,  Michelle Obama gave a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention about not accepting the 'world as it is" but striving to create the 'world as it should be.'

    The speech, taken at face value, should have been dismissed as hokey (and was indeed done so by some old white men on Fox News). It was filled with platitudes and buzzwords, and woefully short on specific solutions.

    It was the kind of shiny, happy talk that's all too common at political conventions and campaigns. For a million different reasons, we should be skeptical of Michelle's speech, and of the entire Obama mystique, the way the campaign tosses around words like hope and change as if they were Magical Concepts, whose utterance alone will be enough to make the world a better place.

    How can we not, after the last eight years, doubt the Obamas' sincerity or wonder if they'd be able to fulfill their promises once elected, even if their intentions are pure.

    Yet it somehow feels right to believe. We allow ourselves to not be so cynical, despite the fact we know we should know better. Young adults around the country, in particular, have been inspired by Obama in a way that hasn't happened for decades.

    Perhaps we believe the Obamas because we're amazed that it's even possible that an African-American couple has gotten to this point, so close to the White House. For if that is now possible in this country, then what, really, isn't possible?

    Or perhaps we believe them because the alternative is too depressing, and we're so tired of being cynical, of Clintons and Bushes, of blow jobs and snow jobs, of Watergate and Whitewater and Blackwater, that we're ready to believe again that it doesn't have to be that way.

    A recent book by the pollster John Zogby "The Way We'll Be' suggests that America's youth - the 'First Globals' he calls them - are exceedingly optimistic about the future, crave honest and courageous leadership and believe that they can save the Earth.

    I'm not so sure why that would be, but if it's true, then perhaps the spirit of the Sixties isn't entirely dead after all. And perhaps the world as it is will soon get a little bit closer to the world as it should be.


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