Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Audacity of Hope, Revisited

Andrew Sullivan and Josh Marshall report on the re-emergence of hope at the DNC, night 3.

Sullivan:It’s been a long and entirely unexpected journey with this extraordinary figure. I’ve doubted and panicked, I’ve hyper-ventilated and wept, I’ve worried and persevered. We did a lot of that together, you and me. But I have one thing to say: he never let us down. He kept his cool, he kept his eyes on the prize, he never embarrassed and almost always lifted us up. He is a living, walking example of American exceptionalism, of why this amazing country can still keep surprising the world.

Readers know how I feel about the Clintons. But this is not about them or me. It’s about an idea of America that is under siege and under attack from a foul, divisive, dangerous demagogue. If you backed Obama, there is no choice in this election but Clinton. This is not a election to seek refuge in a third party or to preen in purist disdain from the messy, often unsatisfying duties of politics. It is an election to keep the America that Obama has helped bring into being, and the core democratic values that have defined this experiment from the very beginning: self-government, not rule by a strongman; pluralism and compassion rather than nativism and fear; an open embrace of the world, and not a terrified flight from it.
But you know what Obama gave us tonight? He gave some of us hope. Again. That’s what he does. And we will never see his like again.
Marshall:I'll repeat something I said as we listened to Obama speak. He's less attacking Trump as making him seem small and petty in comparison to the picture of America he's painting. We heard a lot about how Obama was going to take it to Donald Trump. And he did. But it wasn't in a way that I would have expected based on those words. It was more organic and sweeping.
In the stories we tell about ourselves as Americans there are various set-piece historical moments where we've resisted darkness, failed many times of course, but remained true to who we are in our essence. In recent weeks especially I've increasingly thought that we are in the midst of one of those moments. We have all heard the curse, 'May you live in interesting times.' Well, we are living in interesting times. And that is not a good thing. What will we do? Those set piece moments are myths. But myths, proper myths, contain deep truths. It is a terrifying thing but in a way a gift to live in one of those moments. Like being called up for a special, albeit arduous, task. What new myth will we forge?
I think Obama hit all the points he needed to hit in the pageantry and process of this convention. He summed up his presidency, he knocked Donald Trump, he vouched for Hillary Clinton. But he did something more substantial. I think he captured the reality of the moment, which is a sobering one but also one that is grounding and revivifying because it reminds us who we are. Hopefully it reminds us as a country what we need to do.

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