For the last eight years, I and a lot of other Americans have looked at our president as the unembarrassed standard-bearer of so much that is wrong with American politics: privilege, dynastism, cronyism, corruption, secrecy. He’s even managed to borrow some of the unseemly aspects of East German politics. And we have felt ashamed of our country.

And then there’s Barack Obama. Just the existence of a candidate like Obama says that American ideals like plurality, tolerance, and opportunity still mean something. Perhaps some of Obama’s popularity is not because of his potential as a president, but because he lets us feel better about ourselves.

When I vote for Obama in two weeks, it won’t be because of that. But it’s a nice bonus.

2 thoughts on “Absolution”

  1. While listening to the news reports about Current Occupant being on his second (and final) tour of Africa this week, I thought to myself that the amount of soft power Obama would bring to the international stage would be colossal. As in, should Obama win, it’s practically a waste of our tax dollars for This Year’s Model to be in Africa right now on what’s essentially a goodwill mission. President Obama would bring us several orders of magnitude more international goodwill the instant he takes office.

  2. No joke. Frankly, when I heard on NPR that Bush was on a “goodwill tour,” I just barked “Goodwill!?” in disbelief. I can’t imagine what the he could do to curry international goodwill at this point.

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