Tuesday, February 9, 2016

David Brooks already Misses Obama

Like many people who have conservative temperaments but are not really wedded to the current Republican agenda, David Brooks admires Barack Obama. In his latest column he goes over some of the reasons – personal moral rectitude, no major scandals in his administration, a thoughtful, deliberate approach to decision-making, a refusal to deny reality, an unshakable calm in the face of crises. And then this:
Fifth, a resilient sense of optimism. To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse. That’s simply not true. We have problems, but they are less serious than those faced by just about any other nation on earth.

People are motivated to make wise choices more by hope and opportunity than by fear, cynicism, hatred and despair. Unlike many current candidates, Obama has not appealed to those passions.
I agree with this completely. Our problems are simply not as bad as many American public figures like to make them sound, and I think it is terribly distorting to believe that we face some kind of existential crisis. From fearmongering about terrorism to hysterical cries of racism, we have too much public angst in America and not nearly enough satisfaction about all the things we have achieved, or hope in our ability to achieve still more.

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