it's interesting to see many in the marketing, advertising and creative communities lining up to support Barack Obama's version of "hope". Interesting because these are many of the same folks who peddle 'hope" in the form of predatory loans to low income households "hoping" to own their own home, $200 sneakers to inner city kids "hoping" they will make them the next Michael Jordan, and lottery tickets to single moms "hoping" this ticket holds the key to her personal happiness.
I was talking to a client last week about Barack's version of hope. My client is my vintage, a serial entrepreneur and has been on the sharp side of hope his whole life. We talked about "hope" driving the American entrepreneur. It's hope that gets him out of bed at 5:00am and it's hope that causes him to work 60 hours a week.
For most entrepreneurs "hope" comes in the form of modest expectations - a nice house, college for the kids, money for retirement, a new bass boat, giving back to the local community, etc. But every entrepreneur who has been around a while will tell you that "hope" has a sharp side. To deliver on "hope" you have to act. You have to have the skill, the experience and a little bit of luck to deliver "hope".
Barack and his current cast of supporters do not have the skills or the experience to deliver his notion of "hope" any more than NIke sneakers can turn a "hopeful" kid into the next Michael Jordan. But most importantly, for all Americans with really great hopes and dreams for America - whether for strength, faith, prosperity, innovation, or service, Barack's brand of hope is a cynical manipulation of the folks who need "hope" the most.
As we go through this election cycle I "hope" Barack and his followers will continue to get the tough questions, the follow-up questions and the polite rejoinders firmly asking him "how" and "who". How are you going to do it Barack? And who amongst your supporters has a track record of doing it? So everytime Barack or his supporters say "hope" please politely ask "how" and then "who".