Saturday, August 30, 2008

Platitudes and Attitudes

NOTE to readers: I am going to repost a New York Times op-ed because 1.) it's priceless 2.) it may disappear when angry Obamakins complain(whine). What follows is a hoot. I didn't know David Brooks had it in him. Has he stolen Mark Steyn's mojo?

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A Speech to the Delegates

By DAVID BROOKS

My fellow Americans, it is an honor to address the Democratic National Convention at this defining moment in history. We stand at a crossroads at a pivot point, near a fork in the road on the edge of a precipice in the midst of the most consequential election since last year’s “American Idol.”

One path before us leads to the past, and the extinction of the human race. The other path leads to the future, when we will all be dead. We must choose wisely.

We must close the book on the bleeding wounds of the old politics of division and sail our ship up a mountain of hope and plant our flag on the sunrise of a thousand tomorrows with an American promise that will never die! For this election isn’t about the past or the present, or even the pluperfect conditional. It’s about the future, and Barack Obama loves the future because that’s where all his accomplishments are.

We meet today to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans, a generation that came of age amidst iced chais and mocha strawberry Frappuccinos®, a generation with a historical memory that doesn’t extend back past Coke Zero.

We meet today to heal the divisions that have torn this country. For we are all one country and one American family, whether we are caring and thoughtful Democrats or hate-filled and war-crazed Republicans. We must bring together left and right, marinara and carbonara, John and Elizabeth Edwards. On United we stand, on US Airways, there’s a 25-minute delay.

Ladies and gentleman, I never expected to be speaking before you today. Like so many of our speakers at this convention, I come from a hard-working, middle-class family. I was leading a miserable little life, but, nevertheless, overcame great odds to live the American Dream. My great-grandfather fought in Patton’s Army, along with Barack Obama’s great-grand uncles’ fourth cousin once removed.

As a child, I was abandoned by my parents and lived with a colony of ants. We didn’t have much in the way of material possession, but we did have each other and the ability to carry far more than our own body weights. When I was young, I was temporarily paralyzed in a horrible anteater accident, but I never gave up my dream: the dream of speaking at a national political convention so my speech could be talked over by Wolf Blitzer and a gang of pundits.

And today we Democrats meet in Denver, a suburb of Boulder, a city whose motto is, “A Taxi? You Must be Dreaming.”

And in Denver, we Democrats showed America that we have cute daughters who will someday provide us with prestigious car-window stickers. We heard Hillary Clinton’s ringing endorsement of “the weak-looking thin guy who’s bound to lose.”

We heard from Joe Biden, whose 643 years in the Senate make him uniquely qualified to talk to the middle class, whose family has been riding the Acela and before that the Metroliner for generations, who has been given a lifetime ban from the quiet car and who is himself a verbal train wreck waiting to happen.

We got to know Barack and Michelle Obama, two tall, thin, rich, beautiful people who don’t perspire, but who nonetheless feel compassion for their squatter and smellier fellow citizens. We know that Barack could have gone to a prestigious law firm, like his big donors in the luxury boxes, but he chose to put his ego aside to become a professional politician, president of the United States and redeemer of the human race. We heard about his time as a community organizer, the three most fulfilling months of his life.

We were thrilled by his speech in front of the Greek columns, which were conscientiously recycled from the concert, “Yanni, Live at the Acropolis.” We were honored by his pledge, that if elected president, he will serve at least four months before running for higher office. We were moved by his campaign slogan, “Vote Obama: He’s better than you’ll ever be.” We were inspired by dozens of Democratic senators who declared their lifelong love of John McCain before denouncing him as a reactionary opportunist who would destroy the country.

No, this country cannot afford to elect John Bushmccain. Under Republican rule, locusts have stripped the land, adults wear crocs in public and M&M’s have lost their flavor. We must instead ride to the uplands of hope!

For as Barack Obama suggested Thursday night, wherever there is a president who needs to tap our natural-gas reserves, I’ll be there. Wherever there is a need for a capital-gains readjustment for targeted small businesses, I’ll be there. Wherever there is a president committed to direct diplomacy with nuclear proliferators, I’ll be there, too! God bless the Democrats, and God Bless America!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is, indeed, a funny piece. But I get concerned that conservatives unfamiliar with the Christian narrative of brokenness and struggle, transcendence, renewed creation and the living kingdom (aka the future), implicitly bash the Christian worldview. I like David Brooks a lot, I think he's an intellectually honest, insightful man, but he shows a blind spot to the underlying Christian narrative. It's a blind spot that is typical of Neocons, although he isn't a Neocon.

The problem the Neocons (and Brooks in this instance) create for conservativism without realizing it is that they are subtly working against the ideology of a constituency with whom they have worked hard to forge a political alliance--all because they don't understand the underlying religious ideology that has moved Obama forward.

Obama walks a tightrope as a man who privately sees himself and the world in terms of brokenness, recreation in Christ and the commission to live for the Kingdom (kingdom living as many Christians call it). That personal view is held in tension with a public commitment to secular governance, so what often presents is a secularized political version of Christianity.

There is plenty of Christian material out there that discusses the commission that is implicit in Obama's campaign themes, but I'd point to what I believe is the clearest exposition in NT Wright's Surprised by Hope. Wright might best be described as an Orthodox scholar, but he is considered by both liberal and conservative Christians to be one of the top scholars of the New Testament. Every Neocon ought to read this book. I think there is a great deal they misunderstand in the political arena because they don't understand Christianity fundamentally.

There is ample basis to challenge Obama on the details of policy, foreign strategy and the economic evidence, but a piece like this is, in the long run, a shot in the conservative foot.

StaticNoise said...

I didn't read that much into this piece - I'm not sure Brooks did either. To listen to Obama and all the Democrats last week you'd think the U.S. is entering the 8th year of the Great Great Depression. We are not. As far as Christian overtones in this piece, yes, sure, but it was satire that was meant to poke fun a bunch of actors that are trying to fool us, literally fool us, into believing that Bush is Hitler and McCain is Robert Mugabe. I think it shows that conservatives actually have a sense of humor. For goodness sakes just try reading the Daily Kos for 10 minutes or watching MSNBC... They either make me want to take a shower or kill myself.

Anonymous said...

Obama and the Democrats have expertly crafted a false narrative, if you will, of the multitudes of the downtrodden struggling against insurmountable odds in an unfair and penalizing culture. Alas, the Democrats are literally our saviors. It was this dishonesty I think Brooks was lampooning.

But for the last day when they filled a stadium full of worshipers I dare say none of those in attendance at the DNCC really fit the stereotype they were trying to create in our minds.

Seriously, I can already see the bumper stickers “Vote Obama: He’s better than you’ll ever be.”

Anonymous II