Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Of Everything We've Seen or Read,
This Best Represents Our Thoughts
As Obama is About to Make History

'Obama is a smart man. He is a decent man. He is an undangerous man, in the manner of all pragmatists and opportunists. He reveres reason, though he often confuses it with conversation. His domestic goals are good, though the titans of American finance, the greedy geniuses of Wall Street, may have made many of those goals fantastic. He will see to it that some liberalism survives at the Supreme Court. This leaves only the rest of the world. What a time for a novice! I dread the prospect of Obama's West Wing education in foreign policy: even when he spoke well about these matters in the debates, it all sounded so new to him, so light. He must not mistake the global adulation of his person with the end of anti-Americanism. And he must not mistake his hope for the world with his analysis of the world. But OK, then: Obama, and another anxious visit to the ballot box, with--in the stinging words of Du Bois--"a hope not hopeless but unhopeful."'
--You can read the entire column here. This one bears reading, too.


At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Join us tonight at the Literary as we all celebrate Obama's win!

At 11:07 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I'm afraid I'll be glued to tube, taking in the returns. And given the state of the country, the challenges that lie ahead for him, and my own deep concerns about whether he's up to the challenge, I'm afraid a celebration wouldn't really feel quite right to me.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First article reminded me of one of your book reviews, honest, thought-provoking, and balanced. Appreciated tentative (vs. arrogant) tone of both columns.

Am preparing to go out and vote, and am still torn in the gut about my choice. After caring for a dying man all night, I will go out and plant tulips when I get home. It is my vote for hope.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Anyone who approaches this subject with anything other than a tentative outlook is probably not being very honest. And arrogance is always worth ignoring, no matter what it's source might be.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Diane DiPiero said...

Wow, that first column hit the nail right on the head for me. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one out here thinking such things. Thanks for sharing these columns, John!

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a class election, two of our first graders wanted to vote for "Broccoli" Obama. Just thought it would put a smile on some somber faces. :)

At 8:44 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You know the old saying, Diane (welcome first-timer, and thanks for commenting, by the way): we read to know we're not alone. Glad that one resonated with you also. And Broccoli Obama will affect the world of those little ones in ways no one can yet imagine.

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Roldo Bartimole said...

I don't think Leon Wieseltier captured the moment nor the man. His quote of DuBois is harsh and contrived respecting this time and this historic vote and our hope that goes with it. I don't know the context of the DuBois quote and maybe it would have meaning if he explained it. Or maybe I'm missing the point. I think Obama didn't show as much passion as some might want but how would that passion be misinterpreted coming from a black candidate for President?

At 11:07 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You're right that he failed to really flesh out why that DuBois quote was germane. That was the weakest part of this essay. But I did feel quite in concert with his tone of world-weary resignation. At least until last night, when the real meaning of all this began to really wash over me. And especially when I watched his pitch-perfect acceptance speech, easily his best moment yet. And then when I saw the spring in so many people's step and smile on the lips of so many people at the coffeeshop this morning. A new day has dawned. And Cleveland even is experiencing a sunny morning today, a relatively unusual event.

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have never voted happily in a general election." I can absolutely relate to that first sentence.
This year - for the first time, I believe - I've been really, really excited about a future president (I, too, feel he is a good, decent, and smart, man who will keep his wits about himself in all situations). I held my breath throughout the night Tuesday and at 11 p.m., cried tears of joy (and relief).
It was a wonderful day!
Deanna Adams

At 12:10 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Deanna, you speak for millions. Thanks for commenting--your first time, I think.


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