Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Excellent Obama Read

I know there are a lot of Andrew Sullivan dislikers out there, but this article from the Atlantic is incredible. No, he's not right. But, he's not wrong either. It's just a really well written piece that goes into incredible depth. Sullivan's article is the first mainstream media piece, to my knowledge, that attempts to address, in depth, the timing of the Obama candidacy in a proper historical context.

Sullivan's work is particularly interesting because he doesn't seem particularly enamored with the Obama charisma. The hope that Obama inspires, according to Sullivan, has as much to do with what Obama represents to the historical narrative of "war" that has gripped this country since 1960.

Obama’s candidacy in this sense is a potentially transformational one. Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America—finally—past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us. So much has happened in America in the past seven years, let alone the past 40, that we can be forgiven for focusing on the present and the immediate future. But it is only when you take several large steps back into the long past that the full logic of an Obama presidency stares directly—and uncomfortably—at you.

At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war—not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a mo­mentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade—but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war—and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama—and Obama alone—offers the possibility of a truce.

Sullivan then does a pretty good job of explaining why it is appropriate for me to embolden the last sentence of that passage.

My friend Mark from Philly insisted that I read it. I did and now I insist that you read it.

1 comment:

Huck said...

Welcome to the Andrew Sullivan fan club. I've always liked and respected Andrew Sullivan. As an unabashed liberal, I'm not ashamed to admit as much. I like Sullivan not necessarily for all of his positions, but for his intellectual honesty and for his clearly brilliant mind. And the fact that he drives the wingnuts even more nuts. Personally, I think his blog should be a daily must-read.