Sunday, March 16, 2008

The wit and wisdom of Barack Obama - yes, really

In jumping on him, Andrew Ferguson shows why the nation needs Barack Obama.

Give that article a read, and then let me draw your attention to two specifics.

First, Mr. Ferguson asks what "we are the ones we've been waiting for" means. He decides it must mean that Obama's followers think of themselves as being smarter than anyone else, ever.

While Ferguson endagers asthmatics with his thorough thrashing of a strawman, let's consider what it could mean.

We are the ones we've been waiting for... if we are the very people we've been waiting for, then... then what *are* we waiting for? Let's accomplish things!

It's a simple message. We're here; we can have change if we demand it. We have the power, and we don't need to (and, in fact, must not) wait for someone to come and cause these changes.

So why not "let's act"? Why the stilted sentence?

Because people have been waiting. They've seen that something is wrong, and they haven't quite been sure how to fix it. Even Mr. Ferguson should recognize this... but perhaps he doesn't.

He later abuses Senator Obama for listing problems, but refusing to list specific people who caused them. This, then, is trickery (either of himself - Ferguson acknowledges that Obama seems sincere - or others).

But is it?

In Ferguson's world, people fight to grab power and that's to be expected, and people fight to keep power, or grab more. And that's put us where we are today, where politics has become a bit of a blood sport and where people are routinely demonized for different opinions, because that's the most efficient way to make a power grab. That's the way the world works, and thus, if Obama thinks that we need health care reform, it must mean that he should be demonizing someone for creating the health care mess we have today.

But in the real world, is it ever that simple? And even if it was, even if there were people who clearly deserved to be blamed for the health care mess we have, which would be more important, blaming them, or fixing the problem?

Which would be better, a trial in which we got to (metaphorically speaking) throw over-ripe tomatoes and rotten eggs at the people who helped ruin our health care system, or a health care plan that starts to make sure that everyone can receive medical care without having to be terrified of the costs? I'd pick the latter, and I wouldn't care if, in the end, the people who helped ruin our health care system ended up grabbing some of the credit for fixing things.

You don't need to demonize a set of bad guys to fix a problem. You can just fix it, and let the bad guys go, in most (non-criminal) cases.

Fascinating idea, isn't it? Putting the good of the country ahead of the ability to point to specific people and say "they are bad people!" Isn't it one crazy world where such an idea isn't implicitly understood by everyone?

That's why this country needs Barack Obama. And that's why I'm hoping he wins both the nomination and the general election.

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