Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Obama vs. the Phobocracy

Run, don't walk, to read this REALLY powerful Op Ed in yesterday's Washington Post about how we've become a nation seized by fear -- and how President Obama can lead us away from this awful path:

The point of Obama's candidacy is that the damaged state of American democracy is not the fault of George W. Bush and his minions, the corporate-controlled media, the insurance industry, the oil industry, lobbyists, terrorists, illegal immigrants or Satan. The point is that this mess is our fault. We let in the serpents and liars, we exchanged shining ideals for a handful of nails and some two-by-fours, and we did it by resorting to the simplest, deepest-seated and readiest method we possess as human beings for trying to make sense of the world: through our fear. America has become a phobocracy.

Since I started talking and writing about Obama I have come to see that this ruling fear, and nothing else, lies at the back of every objection or reservation people raise or harbor regarding the man and his candidacy.

Fear whispers to us that white voters have a nasty tendency to tell pollsters, friends and neighbors that they support an African American candidate, then go into the voting booth and let the fear known as racism pull the lever.

Fear tells us that ugliness, rage and brutality are the central facts of human existence, that decency and tolerance are luxuries on whose altar our enemies will be only too happy to sacrifice us. 

Obama vs. the Phobocracy

By Michael Chabon
Monday, February 4, 2008; 12:00 AM


There are many reasons not to support Barack Obama's candidacy for president, but every one of them is bad for the same reason.

Because I have come out publicly for the senator from Illinois, I am often called upon to listen as people offer up -- with wistfulness and regret, or with a pundit's show of certainty, or with a well-earned but useless skepticism -- their bad reasons for not giving Obama their support. For a long time now, I have listened to these people with forbearance and with a sense of duty -- not to some principle of open debate or of the inherent merit in the free exchange of even meritless ideas, but rather out of obligation to the candidate whose cause I champion.


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