It is taking much longer than I thought it would (and much,
much longer than the pundits wish it would) but Awareness is arriving in the
Dem Primary storyline. If it were simply a matter of counting votes, it would already
be over. But politics is rarely only about numbers. Not every vote in the United States is
equal – as Al Gore will be happy to remind you. And that goes double during Dem
Almost all states award their Electoral College votes in a
winner take all fashion. So, for example, do the primary votes of Democrats in
Alabama (which probably will go Republican in the general regardless of which
“heathen” the Dems put up) count as much as those in California which will probably, (but not necessarily) go Dem?
And what about the votes in Ohio, which is a must
win swing state? Hillary trounced Obama there and leads against McCain. Obama
trails McCain in Ohio in all the latest polls (but poll numbers don’t mean much this far
out anyway). Or do they? They certainly mean more if you know how to read them,
which is one of the skills which supposedly makes those Super Delegates so
Add to that John Dean’s fifty-state strategy which seeks to
totally energize the grass roots of the party. Theoretically Dems could lose
this election, and still end up winning the war. That is what happened when
Johnson trounced Goldwater in ‘64. The passionate idealism that the
conservative Senator from Arizona kindled in hearts of his college-age supporters burned so brightly that it made
the conservative revolution inevitable. The same might be the case for the
Obamamaniacs. Is this the beginning of a new, New Deal coalition? Or would a loss now just be one more Dem crash and burn?
What the Dem storyline needs now is careful study and a bit
of inspiration. The emphasis is on inspiration. It is a “Trust the Force”
For years I’ve said that the five-element story model doesn’t
have an Anti-Hero. I was wrong.
I said this because we define the Hero not as the story’s
good-guy, but as the story’s Point of View. If you tell “Silence of the Lambs” from
Hannibal Lechter’s point of view Hannibal isn’t an “anti-hero”, he is that story‘s Hero plain and simple, no
matter how despicable his actions. This is exactly what the series Dexter is doing.
I should have gone a step further in my thinking. Stories
are holistic. As well as being the story’s point of view a Hero confronts an obstacle,
experiences awareness and undergoes a transformation. What happens if a story’s point of view is so completely oppositional
that it actually is more antagonist than hero? In terms of political stories
the anti-hero’s point of view would have no defined ideology (ground to stand
on). It would simply be against anyone who does.
A case in point is NYT columnist Maureen Dowd. Though I
admit I haven’t been a regular reader for a while, and feel free to refresh my
memory, I can’t recall a time she was actually for something. If you have
power, or want it, whether you are Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Hillary she always
has something nasty to say about you. And that is pretty much as far as her
thinking seems to go. Like many guilty
pleasures, it is all empty calories.
Ms.Dowd is an example of an Anti-Hero. And while a Hero
provides a point of view that brings people together and eventually leads them
to awareness, an Anti-Hero does just the opposite. There is no awareness, no transformation.
The target of Ms. Dowd’s vitriol may chance, but her tone remains remarkable
With Dem unity now in a delicate state (and McCain leading
Obama in Ohio polls) Obamaistas should be very careful about drinking too deeply from Ms. Dowd’s
I am painfully aware of how far behind the news curve this
post is, but I really can’t let the most important story moment of last week go
uncommented on. I’m not referring to Hillary’s predictable 40 point trouncing
of Obama in West Virginia (nor the equally predictable media downplaying of its
significance), I’m talking about John Edwards’ long delayed endorsement.
John E had originally been expected to endorse Obama
immediately after withdrawing from the race. He didn’t. That was smart. By
holding back he remained a player, perhaps the key player, in an increasingly
“too close to call” struggle. If it came down to a floor fight at the
convention – which is still highly likely – he would be holding trump.
So why endorse now, just when conventional wisdom (which has
been notoriously wrong this cycle) says the fight is all but over? Isn’t that
the worse time to do it?
It wouldbe, if he was seeking personal power – say a spot on the
ticket. By moving when he did Edwards proved he isn’t in it just for himself.
Media blowhards were beginning to trumpet the line that Hillary’s voters are
“poorer and less educated” in the sort of media mantra that has lasting
damaging effect. What they should say is “working class”, but at least they
didn’t say “white trash” which you could feel many of them thinking very
loudly. To keep that wedge from being driven into party unity, to keep working
class blacks from being separated from working class whites Edwards stepped
forward. He gave away personal power for the common good.
That is what heroes do. They take a stand that brings people
together. If you listen to his endorsement speech (which you can at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzkAjd3xQ7w ) you’ll notice how much time he spends praising Hillary up front.
John Edwards is a working class hero, and it his endorsement
now is a real class act. He would make a great Attorney General. Bobby Kennedy
to Obama’s JFK, and like Bobby he should be a intimate advisor during Obama’s
As we kick start this blog back to life after a six-week
hiatus it seems a good time to answer a question Bob and I are often asked -
where does the five-element story model come from?
Well, the story part comes from Bob and I and our experience
as corporate communications consultants. But the five-element part – the
understanding of how the original Greek elements of fire, earth, water, air and
space relate to specific psychological processes – comes from our study of the
work of contemporary philosopher Oscar Ichazo. That is why our book “The
Elements of Persuasion” is dedicated to him.
Ichazo is probably best known for his development of what
are now called the “Enneagrams of Personality.” This work has created a cottage
industry in the self-help field known as the “Enneagram Movement”. Ichazo himself rejects this “movement” as
pop-psychology and coffee-table mysticism, which includes only the barest tip
of the iceberg of his theory of the nature of the human psyche and the Mind as
The clearest explanation of
Ichazo’s work on the five elements (only a very small part of his overall
presentation) is in the Autumn 1992 issue of “The Arican” the journal of the
Arica Institute and is available for sale on their website at www.arica.org. Be warned, that article is pretty thick going (Icahzo is a
serious philosopher after all). If you aren’t going for your Ph.D, but are
interested in studying Ichazo’s theories (and believe us, you really should be) we suggest that you
start by reading his book "Between Metaphysics and Protoanalysis" available on the same site.
Ichazo is a bit of a recluse and is currently closeted
working on his magnum opus. As his loyal students Bob and I wish him well. THKR