Obama's choices

The Belmont Club examines Mark Steyn's take on Obama as seen through his first book.

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Over and over again the theme that exclusion is the key to belonging emerges.

To avoid being mistaken for such a sellout, I chose my friends carefully: the more politically active black students, the foreign students, the Chicanos, the Marxist professors and structural feminists, and punk rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Frantz Fanon, Euro-centrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet, or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting Bourgeois society’s stifling constraints. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.

That last line -- "we were alienated" -- is too wrong to have been written in literary error by a man as smart as Obama. Surely what he meant to write was "we were resisting". Choosing. Choosing Frantz Fanon, Marxism, structural feminism, black political activism instead of choosing the other. Alienation was the flip side of realization; leaving was the other half of joining. But joining what? Here Steyn seems to agree with my belief that Obama found the Sharpton/Jackson narrative too cheesey for his own liking. The closest he comes to a hypothesis is to suggest that Barack saw himself as a member of the "club of disaffection".

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There is much more, but it is worth reflecting on his choices then and his choices now. Even when he has tried to go mainstream he has chosen the losers of the Carter Administration to advise him on foreign policy for example. Do we really want that team for the coming confrontation with Iran?

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