Friday, September 5, 2008

Thoughts on Obama and the American Dream

I know I've already written about this, but one of my assignments was to critique one of the Presidential Candidates' Acceptance speech, and I feel that what I wrote is deeper and clearer.

A power is an ideology or a social institution composed of people, yet not dependent on specific individuals; those are participate may never be the same over a given period of time, yet the institution continues to thrive because someone will always be participating in it. The American Dream is the ideology that in the United States of America, any person, regardless of racial or ethnic background, creed, sex, or socioeconomic standing can be successful through hard work and patience. Obama’s use of the American Dream in his acceptance speech solidifies the ideology as a power. His personal biography (his immigrant father, growing up raised by his single mother, and his experience in community organizing in Chicago) which is characterized by victory over struggle, exemplifies the Dream well and he draws from it many times. His success story shows how the power of the American Dream is good, and, though not created by God, still once served a good purpose. However, as Langston Hughes reminds us in his poem, “Let America Be America Again” the dream is fallen and not accessible to everyone. Take for instance this passage:

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

We cannot deny that this continues to be the experience of many and Hughes is aware of that. Yet, so is Obama. His campaign has been very successful in capturing glimpses of a redeemed American Dream, and many are attracted to that. However as Dr. King Jr writes in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, “We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boatel as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham,” so it is with Obama.

-end assignment-

I'm going to vote for Obama. It also took me a long time to realize that America is not the last great hope for the world, nor is his being President going to 'bring the millennium'. No political system is ever going to serve everyone. And he's still a politician after all, no matter how different any of them ever say they are.

Related Links: Obama is a Metaphor- Jun @

1 comment:

boatx2 said...

I want pass you on this link my sociology teacher sent to me. It's a Christian Sociology Professor's analysis/opinion of evangelical religion and race factor in the election. One for Sara Pallin and 1 for Obama. I'll leave my assessment neutral in this comment so you won't be swayed beforehand. Haha, I'd love to know what you think.



LOVE thee and wish you were here, so we can get each other's jokes, bwahahaha.