It has been quite a while since I posted on the Bruin Democrats blog. I'm sure our readers are relieved to know that I am, in fact, still alive. Midterms and other commitments have not yet buried me.
I want to share an intriguing piece on Barack Obama written by conservative (note the small "c") Andrew Sullivan. For those of you who don't know, Sullivan is one of the more interesting intellectuals of our time. In the past couple years or so, he has undergone a transformation from one of the Iraq war's most vocal supporters into one of the its most vocal opponents. And, yes, as mentioned a few sentences ago, he identifies as a conservative. Nonetheless, he is still one of Barack Obama's most significant supporters in the blogosphere.
His latest piece on Obama -- which appears in The Atlantic -- discusses how an Obama presidency has the potential to actually build the bridge to the 21st century that President Clinton talked about in his second term. Rather than emphasizing Obama's position on ending the war in Iraq, Sullivan emphasizes Obama's position on ending the culture war. It's a lengthy, but incredible article. I have selected some money quotes for Bruin Democrats' reading pleasure:
"This is the critical context for the election of 2008. It is an election that holds the potential not merely to intensify this cycle of division but to bequeath it to a new generation, one marked by a new war that need not be—that should not be—seen as another Vietnam. A Giuliani-Clinton matchup, favored by the media elite, is a classic intragenerational struggle—with two deeply divisive and ruthless personalities ready to go to the brink. Giuliani represents that Nixonian disgust with anyone asking questions about, let alone actively protesting, a war. Clinton will always be, in the minds of so many, the young woman who gave the commencement address at Wellesley, who sat in on the Nixon implosion and who once disdained baking cookies. For some, her husband will always be the draft dodger who smoked pot and wouldn’t admit it. And however hard she tries, there is nothing Hillary Clinton can do about it. She and Giuliani are conscripts in their generation’s war. To their respective sides, they are war heroes."
"Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can."
"He is among the first Democrats in a generation not to be afraid or ashamed of what they actually believe, which also gives them more freedom to move pragmatically to the right, if necessary. He does not smell, as Clinton does, of political fear."
"Obama’s racial journey makes this kind of both/and politics something more than a matter of political compromise. The paradox of his candidacy is that, as potentially the first African American president in a country founded on slavery, he has taken pains to downplay the racial catharsis his candidacy implies. He knows race is important, and yet he knows that it turns destructive if it becomes the only important thing. In this he again subverts a Boomer paradigm, of black victimology or black conservatism. He is neither Al Sharpton nor Clarence Thomas; neither Julian Bond nor Colin Powell. Nor is he a post-racial figure like Tiger Woods, insofar as he has spent his life trying to reconnect with a black identity his childhood never gave him. Equally, he cannot be a Jesse Jackson. His white mother brought him up to be someone else."
"At a time when America’s estrangement from the world risks tipping into dangerous imbalance, when a country at war with lethal enemies is also increasingly at war with itself, when humankind’s spiritual yearnings veer between an excess of certainty and an inability to believe anything at all, and when sectarian and racial divides seem as intractable as ever, a man who is a bridge between these worlds may be indispensable."