Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hope, joy found in Obama's books

My friend John McCarthy, who lives in Berkeley, has sent his thoughts on Barack Obama's books. I thought you would find his observations interesting:

If you have not read Barack Obama's two books
("Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope"),
I urge you to do so—as I've done over the past couple of weeks.

"Dreams from My Father," by the way, was originally published
in 1995—a decade before it lept to the top of the NY Times
Bestseller list following Obama's keynote speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention.

The books are fascinatingly
autobiographical and thoughtfully analytical about today's pressing world-wide social and political issues.

Now that Barack Obama is running for President of the United States, both books are "must-reads" for everyone who cares about the future of our country and the world.

We have had Presidents who were gifted writers and public orators,
as Barack Obama most certainly is, but I'm not sure we've ever had a
candidate so thoughtful and candid about his motives and origins,
so spiritually led in his choices, so hopeful about the possibilities for
improving our individual and collective lives, and so joyful about public service.

Moreover, here is a writer and candidate whose personal background makes him truly a world citizen.

And it is all laid out in these books.

Obama's writing suggests we now have a presidential
candidate who could well surpass John Kennedy's ability to
communicate with and inspire not only Americans, but people
all over the world who have been understandably disappointed
with American leaders for far too long. I feel a sense of hope and
optimism that I have not felt about American politics for many years
—not just with Obama, but also with Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore,
John and Elizabeth Edwards, and many others at both the state
and federal level.

I believe Obama has the additional potential
for uniting Americans and raising the level of political discourse.
We shall see whether he can do so over the next year—and
whether media coverage will help or hinder his efforts.

As you can tell, I'm clearly still in the honeymoon phase after reading
"Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope" (whose title is
taken from a Chicago minister and friend's sermon that began leading
Obama to embrace the African-American Christian tradition after 30
years of more or less traditional liberal universalist skepticism.)

There will no doubt be disappointments down the road.
Perhaps some of you already know why I ought to be skeptical.

But enough of my own words. Read and see for yourself.
I'll be interested to hear what you think.

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