I'm listening to the SC victory speech on youtube right now. And if I hadn't been for Obama before, I would be now.
Personally, I've been cynical for so long that I've found it difficult to shake. There's security in it; if you're cynical about all political process and all political candidates and all political rhetoric, then you're never going to be disappointed, you're never going to feel betrayed. You never expected anything better. And I experience Obama as a temptation. A temptation toward resuscitated hope and optimism and a trust in personal agency. And despite my like for him as a candidate, there's been a part of me that's resisted getting totally on board. I've been cynical too long. I don't want to contemplate what it may mean to trade it in for what still feels like a naive idealism, the kind that inevitably gets crushed by the implacable momentum of indifferent reality.
What's so powerful about this speech, to me, is that--whatever else is in there--Obama recognizes this.
"We're up against forces that feed the habits that prevent us from being who weThe message to me, and to those like me, is to take the risk. Of climbing out of the security of cynicism and daring the vulnerability of hoping, and working toward the America we wish we lived in. Of making our citizenship something we can legitimately take some pride in, instead of adopting fake Australian accents when overseas.
want to be as a nation...a politics that tells us we have to think, act and even
vote within the confines of the categories that supposedly define us... But
we're not just up against the ingrained and destructive habits of
Washington. We're also up against our own doubts, our own fears, our own
cynicism. The change we seek has always required great struggle and great
sacrifice. And so this is a battle in our own hearts and our own minds
about what kind of country we want, and how hard we're willing to work for it."
And the chorus: "yes, we can." On the theological anthropology behind this speech, maybe another post.