Inspiration is nice. But some folks seem to be getting out of hand.
It’s as if Tom Daschle descended from on high saying, “Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of Chicago a Savior, who is Barack the Democrat.”
Obama supporter Kathleen Geier writes that she’s “getting increasingly weirded out by some of Obama’s supporters. On listservs I’m on, some people who should know better – hard-bitten, not-so-young cynics, even – are gushing about Barack…
Describing various encounters with Obama supporters, she writes, “Excuse me, but this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign. The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity – the Obama volunteers speak of ‘coming to Obama’ in the same way born-again Christians talk about ‘coming to Jesus.’…So I say, we should all get a grip, stop all this unseemly mooning over Barack, see him and the political landscape he is a part of in a cooler, clearer, and more realistic light, and get to work.” [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — Among independently minded people there’s a natural tendency when meeting the force of a crowd, to want to move the opposite way — or at least stand in place and not get swept along in the flow. Popularity so rarely seems to be an index of good judgment. Thus it’s easy to see why the Obama current provokes a measure of skepticism. Sure, I can see his charisma and I can hear his eloquence, says the skeptic, but give me the hard facts. I need some specifics. I need to know what this man will do if we put him in the White House.
It’s a curious form of realism this. It seems to say, I attach more significance to what a politician promises, than I do to what I can assess of his or her character. It seems to imply that a checklist of the correct policy positions is a reliable indicator of what might happen.
I’m inclined to believe that Obama is realistic enough to know that the time to make the boldest declarations and the time to act as a progressive leader comes after receiving a mandate. Seeking and receiving a mandate for change opens up a whole lot of possibilities.