I recently had the opportunity to listen to The Audacity of Hope
by Barack Obama on audiobook. (Yes, the book is now several years old, but I finally found it at Half Price Books!) Below are a few of the quotes that stuck out to me, and my initial thoughts re: these quotes, which I will place under the quotes in bold
"[Clinton's vision of politics] tapped into the pragmatic, non-ideological attitude of the majority of Americans." (Chapter 1: Republicans and Democrats
-But isn't pragmatism itself an ideology?
“[T]his New Conservative leadership was eerily reminiscent of some of the New Left’s leadership during the ‘60s. As with their left-wing counterparts, this new vanguard of the Right viewed politics as a contest, not between competing policy visions, but between Good and Evil: you had to choose sides. It was Bill Clinton’s singular contribution that he tried to transcend this ideological deadlock.” (Chapter 1: Republicans and Democrats)
-It seems that Mr. Obama makes a good point about Congress elevating every instance of "competing policy visions" to a battle "between Good and Evil." On the other hand, I think that he would be forced to admit that there are some "competing policy visions" that do, indeed, amount to a battle "between Good and Evil." Debates in Congress about slavery, "Indian removal," anti-lynching laws, and civil rights, to name a few-- debates that centered around the commitment of Congress to either protect or repress the people's rights to life and liberty-- were battles "between Good and Evil." Similarly, I would argue, there are certain "policy visions"-- his denial of the right to life for the unborn being the chief example-- held by Mr. Obama that do ascend to the level of being a battle "between Good and Evil."
"[American] values are rooted in a basic optimism about life, and a faith in free-will: a confidence that through pluck and sweat and smarts each of us can rise above the circumstances of our birth." (Chapter 2: Values)
-This statement does, indeed, seem accurate re: American values, but it is sub-biblical re: Christian values, though the mentality expressed by Mr. Obama is certainly present within the current American church scene [see R.C. Sproul's essay, "The Pelagian Captivity of the Church"].
"I wasn't sure what happens when we die, anymore than I was sure where the soul resides or what existed before the Big Bang. Walking up the stairs, though, I knew what I hoped for: that my mother was somewhere, together in some way with those four little girls [killed in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham], capable in some fashion of embracing them, of finding joy in their spirits." (Chapter 6: Faith)
-This agnosticism re: the state of the soul after death and affirmation of "the Big Bang" are extremely odd coming from someone claiming Christian faith.
Labels: Christian worldview