Andrew Sullivan on Barack Obama

November 13, 2007


A few days ago, I ran across this article from Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul. I haven’t read this, but I did see it on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Anyway. The article is about the candidacy of Barack Obama, and the significance that it offers the nation, and the world. It goes beyond the literal ideas that he espouses, and goes into what his life means, what his experiences mean, and so on. It avoids being partisan on either side, and shows how this presidency could benefit both sides.

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.

Interestingly, a large part of the significance of this article is that it points out the degree to which the more vocal issues of this election are filled with rhetoric, but in all likelihood will not have an incredible change regardless of which of the “favorites” gets elected.

After looking at these issues, he asks this question:

Given this quiet, evolving consensus on policy, how do we account for the bitter, brutal tone of American politics?

The rest of the article answers this question, and shows why Obama is so significant because of this bitter, brutal tone. Great article that is worth at least a read.

For myself, I continue to find myself sitting in the middle, looking with petrified fear at the possibility of a Clinton vs Giuliani election, and looking with hope at the possibility of either Barack Obama or Ron Paul running, and then fretting that I can’t vote in both primaries.