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Good Luck President Obama – You’re Going to Need It

I turned on my computer this morning to this image of the Washington Mall after Obama’s inauguration:

I am appalled.  How on earth is Obama going to be able to over come this?  The core of the problems that we currently face – the environmental, economic and social crises he so adamantly claims he cain fix – stems from our (Western) gross over-consumption. This, in turn, stems from our disrespect for nature, our belief that it is something separate from ourselves, to be used for our pleasure and comfort with complete disregard, as if destroying it won’t matter.  This image pretty much says it all: excessive, non-stop consumption is our mode of operation, and we don’t give a damn about Mother Earth.

We are all looking to Obama to fix things, but our biggest obstacle to turning things around is ourselves.  Unless and until we can change our habits, we’re doomed.  Now, I’m constantly railing against market individualism, and the push for making the individual responsible for everything.  But in this case, I think it is necessary.  Yes, the corporations produce most of the waste, but they do it because we buy their stuff.  And yes, this mode of mass over-consumption has been carefully cultivated and ingrained in us through subliminal manipulation by corporations and governments combined (for a fascinating and disturbing documentary on this evolution, watch the BBC’s series, the Century of Self)

But at this point, we have to save ourselves.  We must hold the corporations and governments accountable, but we must also do the same with ourselves.  These images make it clear just how huge the gulf is between where we are, and were we need to be.  All these people came out to celebrate the swearing in of the man they hope can save them, to mark history, to make change, yet seem to expect it all to come from without.  

Obama isn’t going to save us.  Only we can do that.  Hopefully he can at least serve to inspire us.  After seeing these images, I have my doubts.  Best of luck, President Obama.  You’re going to need it.  We all are.

One Response

  1. Oh my, what a terribly sad and depressing sight. I’m at a loss for words…

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