So when I hear a line like
(we have come to believe) that if the demagogues and those who would exploit our racial divisions would simply go away...that all our problems would be solved
and no more than ten seconds later Obama's voice has risen to a rather coarse shout usually reserved for use by demagogues and he's excoriating the institutional and social barriers, I have to think: isn't that as much of a case of exploiting them? He's running for president and working a crowd (in a church, no less) into a lather -- by invoking barriers and divisions!
Granted, I know his heart is in the right place or at least from what he says he believes in the America I want to see.
But so do a lot of folks, and I don't see Obama's middle game. Basically, we're hearing "who I am" and "what's wrong" but we're not hearing "what exactly am I going to do for this country (for us)".
I am fine eating mustard and relish sandwiches, like the girl in Obama's closing anecdote. But I can write my own speeches, come up with my own grand narratives for my hopes. I don't need homespun ideology and scriptural solace.
I need content.
Of course, I don't expect a speech at a black church on MLK Day to be a wonkish exposition of how to get from point A to D, and since it was moving, I will defer final judgment on Obama.
But time is getting short.
(To his credit, Obama actually addresses the major problem I have with him -- that he's running on fuzzy good feelings like hope. He even defines "hope". It's a bunch of things, basically, and he says that it don't come easy. But deprivation and sacrifice are going to be hard sells in an America that is softer and more complacent than ever. And there are plenty of people there who don't even think MLK was a great man.)
Speaking of sacrifice and privation, is anyone picking up on how Estonia is preparing its citizens for the hard times ahead (in the crazy calculus of Estonia's economy, people panic if acceleration of the rate of economic growth slows) -- all these public service articles in the newspapers on säästmine, etc.
With the news of the new Chinese superterminal that will bring Eastern Europe the Chinese goods it really needs (ha-ha) and continued emphasis on consumption, I hadn't, really.
Should be an interesting day on Wall Street. All indications that it should be a banner day, since it recently seems to do the opposite of expectations.