Obama the Bridge

A rewarding essay on Barak Obama in The Atlantic, ‘Goodbye to All That‘, by Andrew Sullivan. The thesis is that of the current crop of candidates for President, only Obama can heal America’s political chest-wound, a wound created by the Baby-Boomers in the 1960s and 70s.

She and Giuliani are conscripts in their generation’s war. To their respective sides, they are war heroes. … Of the viable national candidates, only Obama and possibly McCain have the potential to bridge this widening partisan gulf … If you are an American who yearns to finally get beyond the symbolic battles of the Boomer generation and face today’s actual problems, Obama may be your man.

There is also an interesting passage on the issue of Obama’s race, and his reconcilliation of his different identities, or rather, narratives. Its a dichotomy that comes knocking for all those who are of mixed race, or of immigrant heritage, and something that a greater proportion of people will face in generations to come:

In Dreams From My Father, Obama tells the story of a man with an almost eerily nonracial childhood, who has to learn what racism is, what his own racial identity is, and even what being black in America is. And so Obama’s relationship to the black American experience is as much learned as intuitive. He broke up with a serious early girlfriend in part because she was white. He decided to abandon a post-racial career among the upper-middle classes of the East Coast in order to reengage with the black experience of Chicago’s South Side. It was an act of integration—personal as well as communal—that called him to the work of community organizing.
This restlessness with where he was, this attempt at personal integration, represents both an affirmation of identity politics and a commitment to carving a unique personal identity out of the race, geography, and class he inherited. It yields an identity born of displacement, not rootedness.

Sullivan, erstwhile war-cheerleader turned ferocious war-critic, notes the sageness of Obama being “against dumb wars” too.

4 Replies to “Obama the Bridge”

  1. Is America really a country divided though ? I get the imperssion that socially they are more cohesive than we are. The one (and only) thing I like about Obama is that he refuses to aknowledge “race” as an issue, in interview he has stated there is no such thing as “black/white America” offering the possibility of political progress without getting stuck in the thick treacle of grievance politics.
    Agree that they (and we) need to get beyond baby boomers with their tedious, hypocritical political agendas, and their crappy, hugely overrated culture. If I never hear Sgt bloody Pepper again it’ll be too soon, the quicker they all retire/die the better.

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