Every couple of days, someone tells me, "It's going to be such a relief come January when Obama is president. Finally we'll have someone in the White House we can all come together and respect."
We all have a tendency to assume that most other reasonable people think roughly the same way that we do. And thus, those who believe President Bush to be despicable and embarrassing tend to assume (and going around liberal Austin assume out loud) that all reasonable people agree with them, and that aside for a bunch of low IQ rednecks at a NASCAR rally somewhere in flyover country, everyone will feel united in admiring a future President Obama.
I can sympathize with being desperately eager to see almost anyone in the oval office other than someone for whom you have no respect. I spent much of the Clinton years trying to reign in the more over-the-top excesses of some of my relatives: No, Clinton is not going to invite the UN to invade the US. No, he has not sold Long Beach Harbor to the Chinese. No, he is not going to stage a coup and become dictator.
Even so, I recall watching the coverage when Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and realizing that I disliked Clinton so much and trusted him so little that his speach of condolence sounded like a lie to me -- while Yasser Arafat sounded more genuine. Just hearing Clinton say something made me want to disagree, even if it was something that I essentially agreed with.
For those who find Obama exciting and inspiring -- at least have the objectivity to realize that there is a very significant percentage of the American population who will never agree with you on that, unless Obama changes his positions in such a way that you cease to like him. As a country, we are very, very deeply divided on a number of issues that cut to the very root of what it means to be a human being, what it means to live a moral life, what is the nature of the family, and how society should be organized and administered.
Those divisions are not going away: they are the product of fundamentally differing ideas of how the world and the human person work. A charismatic speaker is not going to make them go away. As a result of our cultural and moral fragmentation over the last 50 years, we are now in a period in history during which at least 30% of the population is pretty much guaranteed to despise any given president, for reasons that cut much deeper than "just politics".
Obama supporters are welcome to think that they have the best candidate, and they are welcome to be eager to win, but please stop telling me that Obama will begin the process of "bringing us all together". Our house is divided, and divided it will remain until one of the halves of the country changes its entire worldview.
Learning Notes Week of April 17
13 minutes ago