January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Day

The French don't celebrate it, obviously. But here he is.

Obama hysteria - perhaps the truest effectuation of the day. Civility.

Le Monde featured an interview with Noam Chomsky this week. Listening to Chomsky talk about Obama gives an interesting angle. (Chomsky is, of course, a famous linguist, philosopher, thinker - he appeals to the libertarian socialist in me). He called Obama "the lesser of two evils," "A centrist" in the model of Bill Clinton. Made the important point that Obama's election is simply the western world finally being civilized. And connected this civility to activism in the 60's in America. Credited what happened there. Not just the civil rights movement for blacks, but also the feminist movement and others.

(The interview is in English and is worth a listen - his point about the Bolivian elections is worth a think. He insists that the election of an indigenous member of the Bolivian population after 500 years of suppression is far more revolutionary than the election of Obama in America, but is hardly taken note of and is a good example of modern occidental racism - "The third world is often more civilized than we are." Chomsky is rigorous and will make you think).

Still, with all the hype and the connections made to ML King's legacy, tomorrow is an exalting day for Americans and for many people in the world. 80% of Americans are optimistic about Obama's presidency (which is a full 10 percentage points higher than incoming Bush I or II, Clinton, Reagan, and Carter - NYTimes/CBS News Poll). Impressive.


tmildenhall said...

I agree with his point about the Bolivian elections having lived there for 2 years. That is why I am a big Evo Morales fan. I think he is pretty awesome.

Julie said...

I'm going to listen to the interview. Chomsky's an interesting guy. We are reading Hannah Arendt this week in one of my classes and her thoughts on "action" as being profoundly located between people (as well as relational, unpredictable, boundless. . . and needing speech) makes me think and wonder if Obama's potential for action in the Arendt sense gives people the optimism.

Jill said...

Liked the video. Thanks for sharing. We're very excited to watch the festivities tomorrow night. Wish you could be here to watch with us.

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