Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Intelligent observation from the White House

An eminently sensible quote from Obama is contained within the following editorial:

NEW  YORKER EDITORIAL:  OBAMA--HISTORY AND A HISTORIC PRESIDENCY
By David Remnick

The push and pull, the advance and retrenchment, of history is not unique to any era, but it is plainly central to this one. The election of Barack Obama, the first African-American President, came while a significant portion of the electorate believed him to be lying about his origins, his politics, and his religion––a phenomenon captured in Barry Blitt's notorious preĆ«lection "fist bump" cover, in 2008. The promise of 1989-91 has stalled, for now, in the authoritarian regimes in Moscow and Beijing. The Arab Spring has ended with a military-backed regime in Cairo, civil war in Syria, and a fanatical would-be caliphate under the banner of isis. At home, the empowerment, and marriage rights, of gay men and lesbians coexists with the lingering legacy of racial tension. The awareness of nearly all the world's leaders of the imminence of devastating climate change has roused almost none of them to effective action.

Nor has the overwhelming rise of the Internet overwhelmed the forces of cruelty. History is unawed. Part of the Obama temperament––infuriating to some, inspiringly sane to others––is to recognize that reality. "I think we are born into this world and inherit all the grudges and rivalries and hatreds and sins of the past," the President said in a series of interviews for The New Yorker. "But we also inherit the beauty and the joy and goodness of our forebears. And we're on this planet a pretty short time, so that we cannot remake the world entirely during this little stretch that we have. But I think our decisions matter." He added, "At the end of the day, we're part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right."


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