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Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:01 PM

The Greatness of Barack Obama Is Our Great Project

This was written the morning after the election but I just read it. It gave me goosebumps and will always apply. And Charles P. Pierce can write!

The Greatness of Barack Obama Is Our Great Project
By Charles P. Pierce
at 3:07AM


Photo Illustration by DonkeyHotey for The Politics Blog

"America's never been about what can be done for us; it's about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self- government. That's the principle we were founded on."


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. There is a story that they tell in Georgia politics about the first time that Barack Obama was inaugurated as this most improbable president of the United States. Shortly before the ceremony, they say, he met with John Lewis, the congressman and American hero who was nearly beaten to death on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama as he marched to demand the right simply to vote. The two huddled in the corner and the president-elect wrote something on Lewis's inaugural program. He walked away, and Lewis showed the program to the friends who had come with him.

"Because of you," it said. "Barack Obama."

Part of what drives people crazy about him and if you wanted to see crazy, you should have seen the fugue state that overcame the Fox election all-stars last night, because I've seen jollier police lineups is that he so clearly understands his own genuine historical stature, and that he wears it so easily, and that he uses it so deftly. It is not obvious. He does not use it brutally or obviously. It is just... there with him, a long and deep reservoir of violence and sorrow and tragedy and triumph out of which comes almost everything he does. He came into this office a figure of history, unlike anyone who's become president since George Washington. The simple event of him remains a great gravitational force in our politics. It changes the other parts of our politics in their customary orbits. It happens so easily and so in the manner of an immutable physical law that you hardly notice that it has happened until you realize that what you thought you knew about the country and its people had been shifted by degrees until it is in a completely different place.

Change, he talks about.

Change is the force around him when he walks into the room.

But the history that propels him is not the history that many of us learned in school. It is the underground history of the country, buried deep in the earth, over and over again, but stubbornly rising, over and over again, until it gathered all of its momentum behind him and made him the event that he was in 2008 and that he remains today. It was the history that was behind John Lewis as he walked over that bridge. It is the history that was behind him in his first campaign and then, rather late in the day, in his second campaign as well. And it is through him, maybe, that the underground history is fully integrated at last into the history of the country, that it is acknowledged at last as what it always has been an important element to be used in the constant re-creation of our political commonwealth. He as much as said so late last night, pushing toward two in the morning.

"The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote," he said, calling, again, for the country to engage fully in "the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's the principle we were founded on." That underground history that is behind him, the history that he wears so easily and wields so subtly, ultimately is a history of an ongoing demand to be included in the creative project of self-government. That was all the civil-rights movement ever was. That was what all the bloodshed and horror and death and glory were all about. It was a demand to be included in the great project simply because, if some Americans were not included in the project, it never was so great in the first place.

more...

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/barack-obama-2012-14524219

16 replies, 1469 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Greatness of Barack Obama Is Our Great Project (Original post)
babylonsister Nov 2012 OP
blue neen Nov 2012 #1
monmouth3 Nov 2012 #2
hypergrove Nov 2012 #3
babylonsister Nov 2012 #4
hypergrove Nov 2012 #7
babylonsister Nov 2012 #9
blue neen Nov 2012 #12
blue neen Nov 2012 #5
babylonsister Nov 2012 #6
hypergrove Nov 2012 #8
blue neen Nov 2012 #13
Cha Nov 2012 #10
Kath1 Nov 2012 #14
Cha Nov 2012 #11
Systemshock212 Nov 2012 #15
babylonsister Nov 2012 #16

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:15 PM

1. Proud to K & R.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:16 PM

2. The comments are wonderful too. Great article...n/t

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:39 PM

3. A little more muscle please

 

With GHG sweeping past 400ppm on its way to 700 and above (according to latest models) we have no time to waste. But there is only so much that we the little people can do about the problem. We cannot block any of the 1200 new coal plants brought online this year alone. We cannot block the fracking ourselves as it is legal and welcomed by universities on their campuses. We cannot block shale development as long as its pipelines are approved by the Obama administration and hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land are being leased specifically for such activity.

So saying that it is "the people" who will drive "change" rings quite hollow to me. I cannot but help believe that in the end, Obama and company are laughing at us, the little people, as we witness the extinction of the human race and most life on this planet.

Once Obama publicly approves Keystone, then we'll see how fawning the little people remain. We'll see them opt, in the end, for truly mad geo-engineered solutions, because that is all that is left once it's clear that any government we elect is simply incapable of anything else.

Or perhaps we'll see his "personal mission" about climate change swing into action - jawboning corporate leaders who listened hardly to him for the past four years, or imploring little people to be more conservation-minded. But effective laws such as a CARBON TAX? No way, as he's already said that is off the table, just days following his reelection. Rather, he's apparently interested in the Democratic version of the Shock Doctrine, cap'n trade, a decidedly green-washed policy that fits well with Democratic financiers.

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Response to hypergrove (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:46 PM

4. You might want to post this elsewhere. While I appreciate

your concern, honestly, this group is all about supporting the President, not dissing him, or positing what negative things he might do in the future, which is what you're doing. So please don't bring that here.
Thanks!

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:19 PM

7. climate change

 

If we don't hold his feet to the fire now, at this moment, then I suggest you are not helping him or youself or your neighbors. Those negative things are exactly what we should be watching for, not bathing him with unquestioning admiration as I daresay you are implying. He HAS leased western land very recently for shale development. He HAS approved one-half the pipeline. He DOES brag that we're about to be number 1 in oil production. He has NOT re-installed the solar panels on the WH even! What more do you want? I merely want to see these problems addressed... I do not want to participate with a group more interested in hero worship. Is that what you're asking everyone on DU to do? Remember, 20% of us voted Green - do you want us all to go away so that you can "support" the President?

I am a newbie here, and am flabbergasted there's not even a category for Climate change... maybe I've missed it but the closest is "Weather Watchers" - cut me a break, isn't there more to this discussion group than R-bashing?

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Response to hypergrove (Reply #7)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:38 PM

9. As I said, this group is all about 'bathing him with unquestioning admiration';

you have valid points which could be addressed in General Discussion or Politics 2012, but not here.

And don't be so flabbergasted: here's a group you can post environmental stuff on that would fit the bill:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=forum&id=1127

Environment & Energy (Group)

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Response to hypergrove (Reply #7)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:09 AM

12. You have the opportunity on DU to make choices.

If you don't care for the Barack Obama Group and what it stands for, then you are free to "participate" with a different group. You're not that much of a newbie...you're quite aware of the forum guidelines by now.

This isn't about "hero worship". It's about respect, and you are displaying quite a lack of it.

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Response to hypergrove (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:46 PM

5. "Obama and company are laughing at us"?

"Fawning"?

I'm presuming you're not a fan of the President, but hey, maybe I'm a "Democratic financier" or something.

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Response to blue neen (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:24 PM

6. Thanks for this:

I did read a bit of negativeness in that post. And you're a financier?

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Response to blue neen (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:31 PM

8. actually i am a fan

 

With CO2 at 390 and climbing towards 700 according to latest models, I haven't much patience left. I've waited 4 years and the admin has hardly started to change the culture driving that rise, much less trying much to reduce it. Look at http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/11/21-9 if you don't know that there's a PROBLEM HERE that needs something just a wee bit more muscular than a "personal mission".

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Response to hypergrove (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 12:23 AM

13. You can be part of changing the culture.

Dissing the members of this forum isn't how one would go about accomplishing that change.

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Response to hypergrove (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:18 PM

10. You're Insulting and more than a little

Ignorant.

We'll be the Change in spite of the negative nellies.

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Response to Cha (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 09:40 AM

14. "We'll be the Change!"

Yes, we will! Yes we ARE!!!! Hope and change. I love it.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:21 PM

11. Hey, great piece by Charlie Pierce, babylonsistah! Freaking Full of

MUSCLE.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:19 PM

15. Weak sauce.

 

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Response to Systemshock212 (Reply #15)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 07:50 PM

16. Take it elsewhere. Thanks. nt

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