Some people worship him:
...as "the One."
Others demonize him:
...as the anti-Christ.
The few of us that are left see him for what he is:
...a senator from Illinois with a lot of wrong ideas about government.
There are two equally wrong ideas about Barack Obama that permeate present political discussion, both of which have become deeply frustrating to me as of late. The first seems more common and worrisome at first glance, but in reality the opposite position is just as common and wrong.
The first, more obvious disposition toward Obama that dominates discourse today is of course the one that borders on worship. Obama has become for many the source of hope for real, fundamental change in society. As much as I'd like to spend a good long time explaining why the "change" Obama advocates is nothing more than the continuation of the same slow slide away from freedom we've been seeing for decades, and as much as I'd like to explain that no ruler, however good can really make his people happy, it's not going to be near as effective an argument as his own insufficiency in office. So if your hope lies with Obama, I won't bother arguing with you right now. We'll talk after you've had a couple of years of Obama and you're still not happy.
Besides, there's been plenty said and will be plenty said about what's wrong with Obama. At the moment, I'd like to address precisely the opposite of Obama worship. There's plenty of you folks out there who are well aware of and quite fond of pointing out Obama's less than divine status. But there's something else we should keep in mind: Obama is not the devil or the antichrist either. He's not a terrorist. He's not a communist. At worst he's a really softcore, wannabe socialist, with some shallow, misconceived ideas about politics. Sure, he wants to move America in the wrong direction. Sure, he's going to enact policies that are truly harmful. I'm not suggesting that he doesn't present a real danger of America moving in the wrong direction (I'm also not, for the record, suggesting that McCain is any different). But I see absolutely no reason to believe that Obama is malicious. He seems to honestly want what's best for this country. He is extremely wrong about what is in fact best for this country, but I think he's well meaning. So let's stop demonizing the man. He's wrong, that's all. And really, it's not about him. His ideas are wrong. Barack Obama will come and go and life will go on. Demonizing him or worshipping him won't get us anywhere. Let's talk about what government is and what it should be doing in human society. Let's talk about justice, rule of law, freedom, civil society, and such things. Barack Obama is dust in the wind like the rest of us.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Some people worship him: