Sunday, May 25, 2008

Undeniable

Ezra Klein cites a portion of Obama's Wesleyan commencement address (which I here re-cite for those of you who don't read Ezra Klein):

Each of you will have the chance to make your own discovery in the years to come. And I say “chance” because you won’t have to take it. There’s no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should by. You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America’s.

But I hope you don’t. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, though you do have that obligation. Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get here, though you do have that debt.

It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in America’s story.

[...]

You know, Ted Kennedy often tells a story about the fifth anniversary celebration of the Peace Corps. He was there, and he asked one of the young Americans why he had chosen to volunteer. And the man replied, “Because it was the first time someone asked me to do something for my country.”

I don’t know how many of you have been asked that question, but after today, you have no excuses. I am asking you.


When was the last time a politician asked you to grow up and give a damn?

Do you think John McCain wants you to grow up and give a damn?

6 comments:

Maria's Music said...

Goverment's only purpose should be to help it's citizens when they cannot help themselves. I'm glad that he is saying that in this instance, though I think in other ways he would begin giving help to those who can help themselves

gdg said...

Well, I'd say the answer is "Yes." The problem is that McCain's idea of "grow up and give a damn" is very different from Obama's. Matt Y has blogged about this problem a lot. See here and here

gdg said...

...and here, too (that was really the post I was thinking of, but it was a little hard to find).

Andrew Durkin... said...

Thanks for the comments. And thanks for the links, gdg.

All I can say is that McCain's idea of sacrifice terrifies me -- clearly, it's not built around any idea of compassion or social responsibility, but rather order for order's sake (so as to preserve the interests of the powerful).

Maria's Music said...

Obama's ideas of high taxation wouldn't give aid to the poor out of compassion but demand. That is better than order for order's sake but it's not much better than socialism either.

Many of the aid institutions I disagree with most were started by FDR during the Great Depression and I fear that the American public wants to elect another FDR who is going to raise taxes to a socialistic point.

There are a lot of historical comparisons to be made between Obama and FDR, and in my opinion Hitler. That deserves it's own post though.

Andrew Durkin... said...

Hey Maria:

[..] it's not much better than socialism either.

That depends on your definition of socialism.

I fear that the American public wants to elect another FDR who is going to raise taxes to a socialistic point.

Interesting. My fear is pretty much the opposite: electing another president who is fine with allowing all known wealth in the universe to accumulate in a few little exclusive nooks and crannies, while the rest of the country falls apart brick by brick.

There are a lot of historical comparisons to be made between Obama and FDR, and in my opinion Hitler. That deserves it's own post though.

Yeowza. At least I can agree that that comparison deserves its own post...

(On another note -- I dig your new icon -- is that a Hirschfeld?)