I had a dream that one day this nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of the creed "I agree with Nick".
I had a dream that one day in Washington little Republican boys and little Republican girls would be able to join hands with little Democrat boys and little Democrat girls as sisters and brothers.
I don't have those dreams today.
Progressive politics is dead and who's to blame? The very bastions of liberalism (albeit differently defined on either side of the atlantic) that in the recent past gave us hope and allowed us to dream.
In responding to questions regarding the recent NSA/Verizon scandals with the words "I think we've struck the right balance (between privacy and security)" , Obama effectively put the final nail in the coffin of the liberalist Utopian fantasy that came to define my late adolescence. A coffin which had been carved by Nick Clegg no more than 3 years ago.
The two men, although different in almost every way, performed similar functions on either side of the atlantic: galvanising new, younger voters by promising the rejuvination of tired old systems.
And we all fell for it, us young-uns, because it all seemed so pure and reasoned and yes, exciting, compared to our parents' politics of the stifling GOP, stagnant Labour and sulfurous Tories.
Yes, those final years of the the last decade, despite being tainted by economic woes, brimmed with a wonderfully youthful naievety about the potential for change within politics.
From "Yes we can" to "Nah Forget it"
I wrote a piece for my student paper only last year, eulogising (in attempted comedic fashion) the cool and progressive political persona of Obama.
My reasoning for the lack of tangible change was that Obama faced an immovable and uncooperative Congress and I truly believed that his next term (and I was sure there would be a next term) would be different.
But with everything that's happened in the last year, from drones to phone tapping, it's now impossible to believe that yarn with any real conviction.
What makes it all the worse is the fact that Obama is not my President. He is no more accountable to us here in Britain than Putin or Kim Jong -Un. Yet his impact, and by proxy America's, is and will always be a global affair.
My disenchantment with Obama is purely symbolic. American politics will never be liberal in any real sense anyway.
Clegg on the other hand...
Apparently He's Still Here
The British youth/student disenchantment with this particular cactus burner is completely justified.
You can argue that he never reneged on his promises because he never had the mandate to push through with them in the first place. You could say that were it not for him and the Lib Dems tempering Tory policy, cuts and reforms would have been even more ruthless and we'd all be worse off.
Bullsh*t. These are excuses, plain and simple.
The moment Clegg got into bed with Cameron and co. was the moment he relinquished all rights to that kind of balanced assessment. It should never have happened; simple as.
A token voting system referendum and a few quid added to a tax threshold doesn't make up for the fact he has lost the student vote for his party (possibly forever) and sold its soul for a quick fix of power. He may have had no mandate, but he had a responsibility to his voters and his party members - a responsibility he relinquished upon entering the rose garden.
Is There Still Hope for Liberal politics?
Probably not. Not at a party level anyway. The next british government will likely be another coalition and not one based on any kind of liberal doctrine.
The next POTUS will be further right than even Obama, regardless of the party, and while perhaps espousing libertarian tendencies, will in no way be able to be defined as liberal.
One glimmer is the rhetoric that tends to dominate digital and social media. People realise that they don't necessarily need parties to be able to 'do' politics. After all, I just 'did' politics on a site that does politics all the time, and will likely be read by someone who does politics all the time too.
Liberalism's not dead yet; it just has no place in what is mistakenly callled the mainstream.