Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Not a Clinton, Not a Bush

from The Atlantic Monthly, December 2007

In "Goodbye to All That" (December 2007), Andrew Sullivan argues that a baby boomer mindset, characterized by hard-and-fast opposing categories, has dominated - and hamstrung - the American political landscape since the 1960s. According to this baby boomer mental map, Red America does eternal battle with Blue America, warmongering conservatives do battle with peacenik liberals, Bible-toting fundamentalists do battle with nihilistic atheists, and so on. And so long as these pitched battles of the baby boomer generation prevail, moving forward in any kind of contructive way may be almost impossible.

Of all the 2008 presidential candidates, Sullivan contends, one of them -- Barack Obama -- may be able to spring us free from these old ways of thinking. Obama, he points out, came of age after the 1960s, and, as the stances he has articulated on a number of issues has demonstrated, his outlook did not end up dominated by the hard-and-fast divisions of that era. Even his face and background, Sullivan suggests -- the fact that he is "A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy" -- could go a long way toward smoothing over ideological and racial divisions both at home and abroad.

What are your thoughts about Obama's candidacy? Do agree that he represents a significant opportunity for positive change? Is his youth an asset or a drawback? Is there an '08 candidate you're particularly optimistic about?

Also read an interview with Sullivan in which he speaks with online editor Jennie Rothenberg Gritz about Obama, blogging, and more.

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