Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Emotional Payoff
Funny, I was just thinking about that video. Throughout this campaign, I've resisted the emotional appeal of Obama's message, even while appreciating its power. But when I think of what Obama's candidacy and victory represents in terms of the generations of struggle for freedom and justice that went into making it possible, not just in America but around the world, I find that emotion welling up in spite of myself. I almost booked a flight to bring my son to NY, to accompany my 80-year-old father to the polls, so he could participate in this moment of history. In the end, we won't be there, but in some ways being able to walk out in Paris -- in the world outside America -- on Nov. 5, glowing with pride in this country, my country, will be just as satisfying.
But it's important to remember that Obama's victory is not just a historic victory. It's also a personal and individual victory. He ran a classy, gutsy campaign that, despite the inevitable disappointments that will certainly arise when it comes time to govern, never once ceased to reach for and bring out the best of what our country stands for. That's what that video expresses. To insist on a political method consistent with the political message was a personal act of courage that shows the mark of the man, and all that went into making him. No matter how history remembers him as president, he has already given us much to reflect on as a candidate.