Yesterday was a day I will forever remember. Two and half years ago I read an article by then Seanator Obama. After reading it I thought to myself, "Self, I really hope this person runs for president. I could 100 percent back someone like this".
After his inaugural speech was over I listened to different political pundits weigh in on the next 4 years. "Republicans are going to have to reinvent themselves".... "Obama isn't going to be able to get anything really accomplished in 4 years"..... "Real opposition is going to come from blue dog democrats vs progressive democrats"..... etc etc....
All the talk reminded me of something that I wrote about a lot on my old blog, The Phaith of St. Phransus. We often see Republicans and Democrats as two opposites, two separate parties representing two separate schools of thought. This way of thinking about American politics did work within a Modern framework. But when thinking about a Postmodern framework do the categories hold water?
It seems to me that what President Obama is going to find is his greatest challenge is the fact that he represents a Postmodern leader for an America that is still in the clutches of modernity and liberalism.
In listening to his speech yesterday I heard a leader who cited our American narrative, not a watered down, rose colored wearing glasses narrative... but a narrative that acknowledged where the marinalized and voiceless have come from and a narrative that invites everyone to see where we are and need to go together.
An America rooted in liberalism does not like to be critiqued but would rather have its main players, Conservatism and Progressivism, critique one another. But Obama, in my eyes, represents a new leader who really might just stand outside categories and stand up to the fragmented ideas that America has been fed by a century of liberalism.
Philosopher Alasdair Macintyre characterized liberalism as such:
"Liberalism is often successful in preempting debate . . . so
that objections to it appear to have become debates within liberalism.
. . . So-called conservatism and so-called radicalism in these contemporary
guises are in general mere stalking-horses for liberalism: the contemporary
debates within modern political systems are almost exclusively between
conservative liberals, liberal liberals, and radical liberals. There is little
place in such political systems for the criticism of the system itself, that is,
for putting liberalism in question."
So my hope is that after 8 years of creating a culture of fear by our Conservative liberals (Republicans) and some Liberal liberals (Democrats), maybe we will move passed the past and look into a hopeful future.