September 20, 2008

No: There Are Many Things About It that Are Profoundly Awful

About this:
[O]n a symbolic and historical level, it is impossible not to be moved by the prospect of an African American President of the United States. The soaring feeling that this is going to give to literally hundreds of millions of people is non-trivial. There is simply nothing about that that isn't wonderful -- even though the individual who is getting to write that chapter in the history books is woefully inadequate to it.
This perspective is absolutely wrong in my view, and the phrase I have highlighted is very dangerously wrong.

First, from "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been...a Racist?" (the first part of this does not apply to Falstaff, but the more general argument that follows is fully applicable here):
It appears that, in many cases, they wish to see a Black American president -- simply because he is Black, and simply because he's a member of their political tribe. You can be certain they would not extend the same consideration to a J.C. Watts, for example.

For this, too, is where we are in America today. Not only is truth the enemy, but we live in a world of the most superficial of appearances. Completely empty symbolism -- symbolism stripped of all meaning and of every connection to fact -- is what motivates such people. Rigorous thought and analysis and seriousness of purpose can find no place in this view of the world. These people live only on the surfaces of things, and they are not living or thinking to any measurable extent. The surfaces where they barely exist are those determined by others who came before, and they are entirely covered with lies. The images constantly flicker and are gone, to be replaced by other lies, which will also disappear almost immediately. There is no past and no future, and the present is stripped of all those elements that give life meaning and purpose.
Second, from "Deadly Star: If You Don't Vote for Me, You're a Racist Loser":
So I will not vote for Obama or McCain. But for these reasons [see the full essay], I view Obama as one of the most profoundly dishonest and irresponsible candidates ever to run for president. He is playing with fire. It appears to me that he is well aware of what he is doing, and of what many of his supporters are doing.

These tactics may win him the White House. And these same tactics, in combination with the disintegrating, splintering American culture and economy, may turn his triumph into a notably ugly victory, a victory many Americans may come to mourn very, very deeply.

I confess that I am very fearful for the future of this country, even more fearful than I have been in the Bush years. And that, I also confess, is a development I would never have predicted. But there had been the possibility of opposition over the past seven years, although it finally became clear that all such opposition was a deadly illusion, and that the nominal opposition was in certain respects even guiltier than the Bush criminals.

An Obama victory will kill much of the possibility for meaningful political opposition for good -- that is, opposition that might significantly alter the existing system without destroying it (if that is at all possible, which I am almost entirely convinced it is not). But the resentments, the anger and possibly even the hatred will remain, and they may grow. What happens then?

It hardly bears thinking about.
For much, much more on these questions, I recommend these earlier essays in particular:

Silenced: Barack Obama and the End of Struggle toward Truth and Freedom

Killing Truth and Hope -- The Fatal Illusion of Opposition

Follow the many links in those articles for still more.

I decline to go through all my reasoning yet another time. It is presented in detail in the earlier essays, if you care to read them. The last few years have taught me that, with very rare exceptions, it is entirely futile to engage in arguments of this kind repeatedly. The great majority of people will see and believe what they want to see and believe, and mountains of facts and encyclopedias of arguments will never alter their views. When I get into my series on tribalism and contemporary politics, I will discuss some of the mechanisms involved and offer more than a few examples, including some from my own experience on the wondrous internet.

I'll get to that new series much sooner if only the news would stop. Your assistance in that regard would be greatly appreciated.