Thursday, March 13, 2008

the Obama Kool-Aid test

Some people I know have posed the question to me as to whether my enthusiastic support for Obama means that I've drunk the Kool-Aid. As expressions go, the Kool-Aide reference packs a fair amount of freight and manages to be jokey while tapping into one of the most gruesomely pathetic examples of group-think (Jim Jones) in recent times. None of which should obscure the legitimacy of the question. Is there any substance there, people ask? or is it just Obamania?

To wit I have only one response - read his own words and judge for yourself.

In past blog posts, I've linked to some of Obama's campaign speeches, but he has given policy speeches as well. And then there are speeches like this one in which he reflects on the role of religion in politics. I urge you to read it.
This kind of speech resonates deeply with me because it evinces a depth and breadth of thought that suggests to me that here is a man who is not a johny-come-lately to our national discourse; rather, he is someone who despite his young age has clearly been immersed in the task not simply of crafting and solidifying political positions but of promoting a more honest, frank, and humble conversation about what we believe and what we claim to know.
It seems to me that Obama understands and even embraces doubt and is therefore conversant and comfortable with a wider spectrum of points of view - this has gotten him into trouble with some Democrats who view the political process as a protracted war against the other party where no quarter can ever be given. The trenches of political conflict are pretty inhospitable to this kind of sensibility which makes his success thus far remarkable.
To people who think that it's all a pose, all I can say is that while you may turn out to be right, it's not at all clear to me why you should expect to be right. I suppose I have taken his words to heart and in that sense, I have drunk deeply. But to someone dying of thirst, a clear, cool glass of water is more than a pleasure, it feels like exactly what the moment calls for.


Blogger adam jk gallardo said...

I think my hesitancy about Obama comes from inside me rather than from anything about him. I've done a lot of thinking about this, as one of those who asked the Kool Aid question. Obama seems, to a cynical observer of politics, too good to be true. I fear that anyone who wants to enter politics at the presidential level must have some hidden agenda, some hidden skeletons, some hidden hubris.

Since asking you that question, I've pondered this vein in myself. I can't say that I've come out the other side and now am willing to embrace Obama, but I do feel more willing to start really listening to what he has to say and to accept him at face value.

12:02 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home