Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why ideologues will never "get" Obama

Today xpostfactoid takes direct aim at the DC meme about President Obama being distant and aloof in an article that everyone should read. He posts some great quotes from David Maraniss' book Barack Obama: The Story - which I really am going to have to read. But one of them just blew me away. Its something Obama said back in 1982 when he was only 21 years old ( and yeah, I wish he wouldn't talk in that 3rd person voice - its annoying).
“Yes with every person one meets, one is presented with a weakening of one’s certainty, a shakedown of the habits and grooves of separate existence,” he wrote. “A challenge which most people react to by fear or flight. They misunderstand the nature of the challenge. It lies in forging a unity, mixing it up, constructing the truth to be found between the seams of individual lives. All of which requires breaking some sweat. Like a good basketball game. Or a fine dance” (p. 455).
I have to wonder if everyone resonates with the deep truth of this as much as I do. It reminds me of one of my favorite Tracy Chapman songs/videos.



The one thing ideologues hold on to for dear life is certainty. But what Obama knows is that any authentic meeting with the "other" requires that we risk all that. Rather than being a sign of naiveté or weakness, it takes an incredibly strong person to do that. All of the battles and wars we fight with one another are simply a way to avoid taking that risk.

3 comments:

  1. Brilliantly well-said, Smartypants. I, for one, totally get why he wrote in 3rd person for that passage...if it were written in 1st person, then the reader wouldn't get that it was written for them to learn from and relate to rather than just dismiss it as a quirky aspect of the author.

    Indeed, all ideologues, left and right, are living proof of their own fear of life and people. It's HARD to be flexible and open and take risks with people and ideas. It's easy to be a cynic. Ideology=cynicism=fear. Not only do they not get Barack Obama, but they fear him. He challenges the safety nets they've built for their protection and that scares them even more than just being open.

    Great stuff, lady.

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  2. One of the slightly more vexing things about being a USophilic Brit the last decade or so has been trying to tie together the disconnect between the general reception of GWB and BHO, compared with their outlooks and capabilities.

    Obama appears to be a genuine, honest-to-goodness leader. One may not necessarily agree with where he's going, or the rate he's getting there, or whatever, but he appears to be an agent of change. He's also darn perceptive and self-reflective, to boot.

    Those are qualities I want in my head of state. They are rare. You genuinely don't know how fortunate you are to have someone who possesses them.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, so well said.
      I'm so grateful the American people choose so wisely!

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