By Carolina S. Ruiz Austria

The word "Heresy"

was used by Irenaeus in Contra Haereses to discredit his opponents in the early Christian Church. It has no purely objective meaning without an authoritative system of dogma.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama makes it cool to care again

Many have called it historic and everybody points out how the inauguration of America's first African American President is a landmark in US politics. I certainly don't discount the political significance and the culturally symbolic importance of Obama's rise to the US Presidency for the issues of race and ethnicity or even democracy. But Barack Obama has come to represent so much more because of the sense of hope and optimism he managed to inspire in US politics.

My own take on it is that Obama just made it cool to care again.

(Hopefully it'll be catching and the rest of the world will be infected soon.)

It won't be easy and in a few weeks, months or even within days, hope can start running out and everyone can decide to go back to the same sense of desolation that once hung heavily over US politics. It could happen over the next four years or within the next few days. But there is also hope that that won't happen. The truly amazing thing is that for once it does seem that the American people (at least a lot of them) have a sense that it does depend on them (and with them working with the rest of the world)and not only on Barack Obama. The media probably has the most to learn about this because it does continue to make it appear like all of the problems of America (and the world) will be Obama's alone to solve. (At this point it seems only the Daily show makes this point in jest or the reference to Obama as "the messiah" tongue in cheek).

I must say he didn't disappoint and his speech contained just the right doses of reality with generous amounts of hopefulness and inspiration he is after all known for. He made an appeal to old values of trust, honesty, loyalty and patriotism without neglecting to be inclusive. Obama's message of inclusion on one hand honored diversity and on the other hand, emphasized unity in the common good.

If you think about it, all those things Obama appeals to and refers to are also the self same values invoked by every other politician in America who came before him (freedom, prosperity, decency etc.) But what makes Obama's message hopeful and truly different is that he invokes those values not to exclude but to include. He does not avoid difference (racial, religious or otherwise) but confronts it and challenges everybody to think and act for a good beyond themselves. (He's almost like an American Ghandi.)


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