Sunday, February 10, 2008
To the irritation of certain Old Tories, I have applauded the intelligence of Barack Obama. I did so on the basis of an intuition. Now I can provide hard evidence having watched this speech. Here it is in text form. This is extraordinarily fine, even echoing - I assume unconsciously, but who knows? - the sublime Marilynne in its defence of the role of religious thinkers in American history. The use of Abraham and Isaac is a quite brilliant dramatisation of the logic of the separation of church and state. We would be right to take Isaac away from Abraham because 'we don't hear what he hears'. But the big point is the weight of intelligence that had gone into this position. Obama has out-thought everybody on this matter. In addition, there is his willingness to engage in an issue that, for entirely different reasons, would threaten political careers on both sides of the Atlantic. Obama may not succeed and, if he does, he may not even make a good president. But he interests me. For a contemporary politician, that is a huge achievement.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:34 am