Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

I'm about 50 pages from the end of this book and thought I'd post about it tonight. I've found much to like in the book -- a level-headed analysis of issues that matter: faith, race, foreign policy, as well as a well-woven tapestry of personal stories and political argument. In the faith chapter, though, I was a little disappointed in Obama's testimony about his conversion to Christianity. He does not seem to subscribe any more to the full doctrine of humanity's total dependence on God for any sense of righteousness. He believes more, as his mother did, he says, in the essential goodness of all people. While I don't disagree that people can be good, I believe it is only God in us that inspires any good. Otherwise, we are essentially evil. In the section on race, Obama confronts real problems such as the potential for an inner-city "underclass" created by the justice system, the economy, and cultural factors. He does not seek to blame anyone for these problems, and he does not absolve anyone of their responsibility to do the right things to rebuild urban areas, but rather attempts to offer solutions such as a focus on quality schools. His solutions, though, are short on specifics. I'm reading the foreign policy section right now and am struck by how much the Senator's experiences in Iraq shaped his view of the war. I think he would make good choices as President, and the fact that he listened to reporters, military officers, and Iraqi officials with respect, then made independent judgments about the information he gathered, bodes well for him. I just hope he sticks to that pattern of decision-making once in office.
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