Obama's Ideals and Abstractions
But here’s what interesting about the Obama debate. His opponents assail not merely his “inexperience” but his use of abstractions and ideals, his academic style. This is a problem, not for Obama, but for this country. We must remember that ideals and abstractions sound startling alien because they have been conspicuously absent for many years now. We've been subjected to decisions that are severed from any discernible ideal that can be debated or examined with some degree of rigor. Instead, we have been expected to "trust" that the decisions that move on the ground are based on sound judgment (usually invisible to the public for "security" reasons) or some clinking beer-steins, gut level earnestness. When abstractions or ideals are pulled from sight, how do we make any kind of moral or ethical analysis of major decisions? For huge frickin example, take the Iraq war. The debate was about WMD's and security. There was hardly a public debate on the very notion of applying violence to spread an ideal like democracy. Even as a pretext (ie, oil), the democracy card was used. Does anyone remember a robust discussion on whether or not it is even possible to cram a new political system down a nation's throat? Has it ever worked? Can we have the dignity of exploring that possibility before the bombs fall? Islam spread by sword, the nut-jobs invent and complain. And what of democracy?