The first approach walked prominently throughout the land in the finest, most regal of dress.  It was popular- not populist, mind you, in the sense that many, many of the younger folks and the poorer folks and the most destitute and dis-empowered and hard laboring of the land didn’t care at all to take part.  But it was popular nonetheless, championed by those who follow the widest river through the forest, rather than those who explore the slower moving, more narrow branches of the stream.  Its every move and word and gesture and notion was followed obsessively by the televisions and newspapers and radios and the blogosphere.  And it had certainly aroused a hope, a new hope, for change that could save you and me and everyone else from the deplorable plight brought upon us not only by eight unimaginable years of George Bush’s reign, but by 30 years of the neo-conservative agenda and by 150 years of liberalism and by 400 years of capitalism.  Well, those “unimaginable” eight years of Bush were imagined, actually, but not by any of the followers of the first approach…. a wide variety of people- like Marx, Bakunin, Goldman, Orwell, Bookchin, even Coetzee, they had all long imagined the Bush years, which perhaps is why they showed little care at all for the first approach in the first place.

The second approach was lesser-known, and to the degree it was known, it was terribly mis-understood and mis-characterized.  The second approach concerned itself little- if at all- with what outcome the first approach would bring, because the second approach was interested in the here an now, with the daily lives of the most downtrodden and desolate and desperate members of society.  And to it’s own credit, the second approach recognized that this group (the downtrodden and desolate and desperate) included a great many people who were in fact fans of the first approach.  Nonetheless, the second approach worked hard and tirelessly for not only those who embraced it, but equally for those who rejected it in favor of the finery of the first.  While the first approach sought to place power in the hands of some who could hopefully employ it in a manner that could help the people, the second approach fought to take that power from its concentrated centers and give it back to every man, woman and child who would put it to use in the service of their own safety, security, and happiness.

So it was with much fan-fare that the first approach brought us Barack Obama- young, handsome, energetic, inspiring, promising; yes, promising, lots of promises both stated and implied.  But with the very first moments of time’s passage and the very first particles of sunlight, the first approach’s savior, Mr Obama, showed to be curiously uninspiring; the aforementioned “change” under the weight of the first approach’s favorite son, seemed to look surprisingly (or not so surprisingly, to some) like all the previous rulers for the past 30, 150, or even 400 years: the beginning of Obama’s reign would be blessed by a homophobic cultural warrior from the furthest right; agriculture would be placed under the control of a man who favors genetic modification, corporate farming over human-scale, food-derived fuels that leave the hungry hungrier and which use more fuel to produce than they produce themselves; the banking sector, which directly and knowingly created the worst, most deplorable economy the world can remember, would be managed by the very people who brought about and participated in the pillaging that had inspired millions to reject its previous management; the chief law-enforcer, the Attorney General, would be a man who himself was involved closely with one of the most scandal-ridden and questionably legal aspects of the Clinton Administration- an Administration and way of ruling that the people themselves clearly rejected in the primaries preceding the first approach’s moment of ejaculation; the Secretary of Interior, the overseer of the land itself that we call home, would be from the very conservative movement that the people rejected and could be certain to work for the entrenched interests of business and industry over those of people and humanity; likewise, the transportation of the land would be managed by a man with a vocal and committed position in favor not of logic, people, and the planet, but of profits, business, and the same old way of doing things; and the Secretary of State, to represent the interests and motives and goals of the country across the world, would be a woman who’s vision and message lost in the electoral process, who lied about her experiences to the public and called those lies “mis-speaking”, who lived in the very House that Obama will enter as the face of something somehow “new” and “hopeful” and promising “change”- change does not look like ten years ago, it looks unlike anything before; we could go on, and we could go further into the details, but this narrator for one is feeling his bowel movements loosen by ever sentence spoken.

But the second approach was never dissuaded by any of this- the second approach glanced up for only a minute, to turn its head back as it navigated the unexplored waters of that narrow tributary that it was paddling through and smile and give another call to the followers of the first approach: “come this way! the water’s are rough and the banks uncertain, but the fruits dangle overhead and can be eaten as we go!”

The second approach cared little for the powers that were gathering in Washington; the second approach saw 250 people in Chicago lose their jobs and their security and their livelihoods without notice and went into action– the second approach took control, took power, in the moment and won pay and severance and security- if only momentary security- for the factory worker’s at Republic Windows and Doors who before the second approach’s arrival faced want and hunger and loss.  The second approach grew inspired by the empowerment of the people of Greece, and faced with the same old same old of their university took action– and took power from those who claim it as theirs over others and won some of it back at the New School in New York.

The second approach cared not for those who seek to rule us and claim to know what’s best for us- it took action where it saw injustice and hardship, directly and immediately winning reprieves of egregious situations.  While the followers of the first approach whined and scratched their heads and went dutifully on with their voluntary serfdom, resigned to a life of disappointment and cynicism and dis-empowerment, the followers of the second approach saw continually their lot getting better.  Slowly, dangerously, with risk and uncertainty but likewise with actual hope that could not be wrestled from them by the ambivalent actions of those above, the second approach and its followers continue down the path untraveled (and under-reported by the press) mindful that in life, success and security and happiness and true wealth are like a foreign tongue to the first approach, and despite all the translators it may seek to employ, it cannot achieve anything but the most illusionary glimpses of comprehension.

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