So here we are, in 2008, standing at the historical crossroads which Howe and Strauss indicated would be our lot, in their epic text, "The Fourth Turning", over a decade ago.
Economic crisis, cultural unrest, two wars, and a Generation X hero at the helm. That many are comparing Obama and his position to FDR and his New Deal is not cause for surprise, as we were destined to arrive back at such a moment, and the GOP was urgent in their quest to drive us there. Unconsciously, they opened the way for the Democratic Resurgence.
The saeculum of history is an eternal recurrecne theory: Old patterns come back with a vengence, all our attempts to move history in a straight line forward are as futile and destined for failure as the desire that summer never give way to autumn.
"This is our moment", Obama told cheering crowds during election season, and already the hand which writes the chapters of history in the future, as though it were writing the past, had marked him to be the voice of that moment. Will he succeed, and become America's beloved, as FDR did, despite the nay-sayers and haters? If he succeeds, he will indeed be as Chapman foretold, the Obama who is a Hegelian leap forward in the dialectical movement of history, ushering in a new era which will mark the seperation of American ages; destined to be forever spoken of as the heroic leader in our history books, the beloved and the hated, the trusted and the feared, touched by the crowning annointment of the Hegelian hero role which makes of a mere polititian, something both more than human, and fully human. In any case, the election of Barack Obama was not a neutral event, and on both sides, in the camps of the adoring and the manic, the fearing and those who would compare his coming to a disaster, something is stirring and generating throughout our nation.
FDR's New Deal era was never about economics merely; in many ways it was a smokescreen and vehicle of a cultural identity crisis and monumental change of national character and self-identity. Of course there are nay-sayers, those for instance in Great Britain, who point out the fact that their Tony Blair was supposed to have been a watershed mark for their nation, a dividing line between the past and the future, with new ideology which would have far reaching global effects. Nothing of the kind was true: the balloon went up, and fizzled, and fluttered dully to the ground. However, Britain was not in the state that we are in, culturally; no lunatic fringe groups gripped their media as over here, no great culture wars and divergent views had wracked them and effected individuals on the scope and magnitude which has occurred with us. Our history is different: bifurcations and civil unrest have been our lot. I for one do not think we are in a neutral phase, or one in which the rhetoric of the day covers a dull, business-as-usual reality. Our crisis is real, effecting all levels of the social stratum and substratum , and in urgent need of innovative solutions. Obama is up to the task, even if he bungles it, he will not be subdued in the mishap. Well, it unfolds now, and it is up to the bloggers and writers to convey the unfolding, each from our own perspective, each according to our own secret hopes and fears. We have reached that moment, turned back to it again, as Tennessee Williams so eloquently stated in his prologue to "The Glass Menagerie", in which we have "our fingers forcibly pressed into the fiery braille letters of a dissolving economy".