Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Audacity of the Usual: Jim Geraghty transcribes part of a recent speech in which Michelle Obama assures us that her husband will force us to work:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
Geraghty (ever the opponent of change) wonders where the president has the Constitutional authority to prohibit "your lives as usual." Though Michelle Obama seems in that speech (more transcription and analysis here) to be attacking the politics of "fear," she herself seems to be trying to make the usual lives of citizens (whatever those "usual lives" are) objects of fear and loathing. She also emphasizes the rhetoric of compulsion in this address. Obama will "require," "demand," and "never allow you" to do certain things or even to feel certain ways.