Yesterday we began our series of articles that take a look at how Barack Obama is exemplifying spirituality. Yesterday we heard about how he appears to stay in the moment most of the time. We also got a feeling for his nonviolent approach to his campaign. Today we will look at a few more aspects of what appears to be the spirituality that Barack Obama lives in his public life.
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He is inclusive
In today’s post we will look at how Barack Obama espouses an inclusiveness that appears to be spiritual in origin. The first aspect of this is his determination to run a campaign in all fifty states.
The prevailing wisdom in the last three or four presidential elections has been to energize your base and then concentrate your campaign in the “swing” states. We will talk about what energizing the base means shortly. For now we will look at the fifty state strategy that Barack Obama ran.
The fifty state strategy
As we mentioned in the last paragraph, the recent method of campaigning has been to concentrate your efforts in the swing states. During the 1990s the political strategists running the campaigns began dividing the country into red and blue states. The red states were Republican and the blue states were Democratic.
The strategy was to put some effort into the states that were solidly on your side, but the focus was on the large states that were neither red nor blue. These were the swing states. This is why there was so much concentration on states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The solid red and blues states were mostly balanced with their electoral vote. By winning the swing states you could win the entire election. With this strategy much of the country was discounted as to their importance. It was as if the presidential candidates said “You are inconsequential to our strategy so we will not even visit your state.”
Barack Obama broke this supposed wisdom wide open. From the beginning he said that there were no red states or blue states only the United States. He rolled out his fifty state campaign during the primary election season. By building an organization in each of the fifty states he was able to win the nomination of his party.
He then went on to use that same organization to run another fifty state campaign during the presidential election. He said that each state is important. He saw that by getting everyone to work together across the entire country that we would all feel included. We all have a stake in the outcome of the election. This strategy was so successful that towards the end of the campaign Barack Obama was gaining tremendous support in states that had been red for forty or more years.
Energize the base
The fifty state strategy was not the only way that Barack Obama showed a spiritual inclusiveness in his campaign. He eschewed the recent trend towards energizing a small base of loyal supporters from which to gain strength.
The “energize the base strategy” works like this. You identify a small and extremely loyal group of supporters. These are the supporters that will literally blindly follow you no matter what.
From a spiritual standpoint this is a pure appeal to the false self of those supporters. The false self of the supporters is basically manipulated so that they stay loyal to the candidate. These supporters will believe anything you say and fight any battle you tell them to fight.
The energized base does not make up a majority of your party, much less a majority of the electorate. In order for the energized base to prevail in an election you have to deal with those that do not agree with you.
To neutralize your opponents you find wedge issues that will split them from your base and from each other. Typical wedge issues have been gay rights, abortion, and the aggression and occupation of Iraq.
The strategy is to split the opposition – both from your party and the other party – into small groups. These small groups wind up fighting with each other and cannot muster enough strength to challenge the numerically smaller but politically stronger energized base.
This is the type of politics that Barack Obama talked about when he called for ending the politics of divisiveness. Barack Obama appears to have a vision of a unified America (and world) where people work together but are able to respectfully disagree with each other. By rejecting the divisive “energize the base” strategy Barack Obama is attempting to show us that working together is much more important than demonizing our opponents.
One last note on the “energizing the base” strategy. Although this has been the primary strategy of the Republican Party, Barack Obama faced this kind of strategy from some of his opponents in the Democratic Party primary elections.
We are one nation
One theme that was mentioned in nearly every speech that Barack Obama gave was that we are one nation, one people. He continually talked more about what unifies us. He spent little if no time on our differences. Besides being a spiritual principal of inclusiveness, I see this as a spiritual healing.
We have spent many years being divided into angry factions by our “leaders”. Those same “leaders” spent many years telling us to be afraid of those who are not like us. Nothing saps the spiritual will of an individual or nation like being told to be afraid of everyone and everything.
It appears to me that Barack Obama may have seen this disconsolate mood in the country. Somehow he realized that we needed a spiritual healing. He appealed to our better nature and it should be no surprise that we responded.
A spiritual person knows that when you appeal to someone’s better nature they will agree with you the vast majority of the time. By appealing to our sense of unity as a nation Barack Obama was able to get us to agree with his vision for a more civil place to live.
That is all for today. We will continue this theme again tomorrow. Please help start the national discussion of this subject by sharing your comments with your brothers and sisters around the world who are reading this blog.
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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