Political Idealism

According to this article former Senator Bill Bradley is going to come out in support of Barack Obama. Here is an excerpt:
"Barack Obama is building a broad new coalition that brings together Democrats, independents and Republicans by once again making idealism a central focus of our politics," Bradley said in a release scheduled to be released on Sunday.

"Because of his enormous appeal to Americans of all ages and backgrounds, Obama is the candidate best positioned to win in November. ... His movement for change could create a new era of American politics — truly a new American story."
I have followed Bradley ever since he played basketball for Princeton (in my teen years I would practice one of his BB shots for hours at a time), got a Rhodes scholarship, played for the NY Knicks, was elected a NJ senator and ran for the presidential nomination against Al Gore.. I found it interesting that the idealism and not issues was (at least) one of the reasons he is supporting Obama.

It got me to thinking about how cynical I have become of politicians and our government.. in some sense I have lost hope that anyone we elect could change the atmosphere in Washington. I believed that GW Bush could when I voted for him in 2000 and have since lost any idealism that I once had.. but I do not like where I am these days.. I want to embrace the idealism that Bill Bradley speaks of.. but don't see it happening soon.

Is anyone else out there struggling in this way? Anyone else tired of voting for the lesser of two "evils"? Anyone hoping for idealism but not able to get past political cynicism?


  1. If I ever lose my idealism, just shoot me.

    It's difficult to maintain at times. But, I work hard at it. Don't know about Barack yet. But, the last thing I would ever knock a candidate for is being an idealist. Jesus was an idealist.


  2. Yes. I feel the same way you do. I watched the entire debate last night wondering how much what each person said was "real" or just pre-rehearsed stuff their writers fed them.

    I think I want to try to be more like Brian above me. It is something we can choose to work on. thanks, Brian.

  3. I feel the same way you do, Bob...even though I'm still an idealist at heart. Working on the joy, which goes hand in hand with idealism.

  4. Cynicism is probably at epidemic proportions at this point in time. It would be interesting to see a survey done on this topic.

    I would have to say as far as the marketing of hope goes, Obama has the field. Have you seen his recent adds? Or his post-Iowa speech? The cynic in me says that it is just a political marketing ploy, but who knows, maybe he believes it? Part of me wants to.

    As far as Jesus being an idealist, maybe, I think he was more of a realist. But that could be the cynic as well :)

  5. Jesus a realist? Really? Talking about respecting women and children and Gentiles and Samaritans in ancient Israel? Saying the Kingdom of G-d was "at hand"? Telling HIs disciples they would do greater things than He did? Taking on the Jewish Temple System and the Roman Government at the same time?

    I think Jesus was killed for His idealism. As were MLK, Ghandi, JFK and others.

  6. Yeah, I think Brian's right on this. Realism comes from living and plowing through this worldly realm.
    Jesus was definitely not of this realm and walked in the spirit world. . .the world of unconditional love and joy.

    This earthly existence killed that, just like it tries to kill anything like it.

    If Obama really means it and tries to walk it, he'll need to be very careful.

  7. I too have become rather jaded when it comes to politics but I don't think our choice is between idealism and realism. I propose we attempt to hold both in tension. I don't suggest this is easy but I do think it is possible to be a realistic, idealistic. It's kind of like marriage...I want and strive to be an idealist and romantic but the hard realties of living day to day with another keeps me from believing that we really will live happily after all. Maybe a day here or a day there...or a moment here and there...That is how I see politics....

  8. We are jaded/cynical because they have let us down time and time again. Read my lips and crap like that. I want someone to say I don't know but I'm gonna try. I don't even care if he/she is getting a little action in the office. I’d invite you folks to play in the White House that’s a distraction having folks over to look for the secret president’s book. You know they skip letting me read it. ;-)

  9. Great thoughts about Jesus and idealism Brian. I am not sure that being a realist means that one cannot be an idealist. Sometimes I think we see them as opposite because some (like me) cloak cynicism with words like realism. Here is a clip from something I wrote in February:

    I often find myself going through the day subconsciously talking to God. On one such day a few weeks ago I heard myself thinking "I am a realist". What I heard back surprised me. This thought instantly came back to me: "Which reality?"

    Netting it out.. I think that whether we are cynical or idealistic depends on which reality we embrace. From the little that I know of Brian (ala his blog) I think that he is an idealist because of the reality he embraces.

    Maybe.. when it comes to politics.. I need to embrace that other reality a bit more than I think that I do :)

  10. Why is everyone in the media and the campaigns afraid of the "L" word? I mean LEADER.

    Leaders tell the truth. Leaders see what's needed next and moves everybody and everything in position to do it. Leaders see the future, through the lens of their morality or with the lens of the Bill of Rights, and takes us there. Leaders are competent in the long run, because they see their mistakes and make adjustments and move forward. Leaders aren't popular because they make real decisions in real time and take the real criticism.

    The heck with idealism and realism and change. We need a leader, a brave and strong person.

    (That's why, if I had to vote today, I'd hold my nose and vote for Giuliani - his leadership skills were tested big time on 09/11.)

  11. I would need a pretty big nose clip to vote for Rudy TZ :(

  12. Great post brother.
    I think this political year has started too early.
    I will decide when it gets closer to voting time and check into them then.
    I do think it is interesting to watch though.
    I am idependant. I vote for the person and not any party. I vote on who I think hold the values of Jesus Christ and do the best job.
    Anyway. Kansas Bob, Great post brother. I do think people think that there is definately this elitism going on and it makes me sick. Were better than you. How about we are going to do what is best for the American people for a change instead of our party or lobists.

  13. Bob, the label that most closely fits me is probably that of Voluntaryist. To stop voting is not to stop caring. I am one of the least apathetic people you'll ever meet, but I am no longer troubled by the fuss and feathers of politics, having found a way to ignore it with no damage to my psyche and lot's of extra time for real life.

    Eventually I will blog about it.

    Say, "If voting changed anything, wouldn't it be illegal?"


  14. I liked that last comment Mike.

    Last year I didn't cast a vote for any of the folks on the ballot because I am trying to not vote for the "lesser of two evils" ... but I did vote against a sales tax that was on the ballot.

  15. Thanks for participating in The Seventh Day: Third Edition! The Carnival will be live on Sunday, January 13, 2007, at On the Horizon!

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    Blessings to you!


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