Saturday, October 03, 2009

Books: The Audacity of Hope

Warning: I get a little political in this post.

The Audacity of Hope
By Barack Obama
Copyright 2006
Read by the author

Bill Maher on his HBO show last night said, "Obama's no liberal," and I have always thought that.

Listening to this tape only confirmed my suspicions. Obama's politics are center-right; he is a Democrat in name only. But truly there are very few true democrats in politics these days. The charade of two parties can end any time now, as far as I'm concerned.

All of which makes the current debacle on health care even more ludicrous as I listen to the catcalls of socialism, etc. that the far right tosses about against one who is essentially one of their own. It's like the right hand slapping the left.

The Audacity of Hope makes it clear that Obama is a centrist at best; he likes free trade and capitalism, adores corporations and loves the comfy lifestyle of someone who makes more money in a year than I will ever see in my lifetime.

Even so, if some of Obama's policies and changes were to pass, the lower middle class, if there is such a thing (really that would be the working class, a term not used in the U.S., and it would include pretty much everybody who makes under, oh, I don't know, let's say $100,000 a year, that is to say, most people), could breath a little easier. Some of the very poor in this country might live a little longer. But it sure seems to me like most folks don't really want poor people, so who cares, eh?

Obama's book talks about health care and how it should change, educational changes, etc., all of which might improve the current status quo. Had he stuck to his original health care ideas and come up with better names for things he might have been more successful; as it is, it looks like what is snaking through Congress will only help the corporations; once again the little guy has been thoroughly forgotten and left for dead.

Our president is well-spoken, and his arguments, center as they are, in theory likely would make sense to people on both sides if either were inclined to listen, which, obviously, they aren't. The book veers off on a long treatise on the treatment of blacks; I daresay some of this would send some white folks I know into an apoplectic fit (I originally misspelled that "apopolitical fit," which is probably appropriate, too), but the short version of his theory is that if blacks are raised above the poverty level everyone else in that category would also benefit, and that is hard to argue with.

He equivocates on some stances as he searches to understand both sides. While this is admirable, I am not sure it will lead to much change in the long run. Finding that "happy medium" is a great goal but it seems next to impossible in the current political climate.

There is also a moral aspect - as in right and wrong - about his ideas that rings true and which is a relief to someone like me, that is to say, a person who sees nothing but immorality in capitalism and the free market because let's face it, not everybody has boots with straps to pull themselves up with. Sometimes folks just have bad luck, and our health care system is set up to bankrupt people, not help them, and corporations can beat a whip across the back of its workers without condemnation, and products can fail or even kill people and the corporations still win. Regular folks have no recourse and I am tired of feeling like I'm just being swept along in a tide of BS that I can't swim out of.

So I can see why Obama the mighty orator was received and anointed as he was, even though I did not agree at the time and still think Hillary Clinton was a better choice. I understand that desire for change, the hope for something better, that brought him into the White House.

If you want to know more about what the man who is our president is thinking, then this is a good book for some insight. It was written prior to his presidential run, although I think he was certainly thinking about it when it was written.


  1. I agree.

    I also think Hillary would have been better.

  2. I think you should submit this as a commentary to the Roanoke Times.


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