Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Tide is Turning

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry - but I think stuff like this is really, absolutely ridiculous. Yet, that song is very nice, if you like that sort of thing. And yes, if you play that song over pictures of sadness and violence and anger, it's easy to feel swept up in emotion. And yes, President-elect Obama gives a good speech and looks very nice in front of the blue backdrop.

But he is just a person, just a man, and (this is important) just a politician. Practically speaking, he ran a much better campaign than McCain - but there's a tremendous difference between running a good campaign and being a good leader or having good ideas. Stuff like this video bothers me because despite the fact that it features, in a mawkish way, the candidate that you (and I) voted for, it is really antithetical to critical thought. Critical thought doesn't respond to gushy little songs over some of Obama's most oratorically rotund phrases, or show pictures of African-Americans weeping as evidence of Obama's fitness for the presidency. Critical thought listens and weighs carefully the content of his speeches (fairly minimal once you get back the change stuff, and the standard "let's bring America back" lines). Critical thought understands the difference between the nice little lines that candidates peddle and the realities of governing in this world.

Look, I voted for the guy too, and I'm glad he won. And yes, I understand the symbolic impact of his election, though not nearly as much as many of my African-American friends understand it. But this stuff makes me really nervous about the future, insofar as the people who voted Obama in to office don't seem to be exercising their cognitive capacities about his actual beliefs, positions, and governing challenges. Candidates need their supporters most of all to be critical of them - and this is the least critical group of supporters I've seen in quite awhile. So maybe we should ditch the music videos for now.

Yikes, what a long post.