[image from Liz Gasperini, “Normal and Productive Bodies“]
Some time ago I decided that the eighteenth-century standoff between cosmopolitans and nationalists was more than a one-time event. No, it was a recurring ideological narrative, perhaps a meme, with a distressing tendency to end the same way every time, with the political defeat of the cosmopolitans and reformists. And globalization or no globalization, it doesn’t seem as if the nation-state is going away any time soon.
So it didn’t surprise me to see Barack Obama, who has been presenting himself as the Candidate of Uplift, drawing on this kind of language (hedged of course with assurances of his patriotism) on his Berlin trip. Nor did it surprise me that loads of people reacted with outrage. (what else could they say?) What I am interested in is whether the usual “Burkean” accusations against Obama of foreignness, effeminacy, and treasonous lack of attachments will work this time. It’s certainly worked in the past.
[Bonus: for those blessed with a classical education, I’m providing a link to Diogenes the Cynic’s Myspace page. And those able to take some strong language should tune into his good friend Bill Hicks’ YouTube video on “patriotism,” conveniently embedded on that page.]
UPDATE: Oops, it looks like Obama’s speeches in front of 200, 000 people have been buried underneath the truckload of trash that McCain dumped on his head this past week. Obama’s response has been to call McCain and his camp “cynical” but not “racist.”
Whew, glad that’s been cleared up. Karl Rove and his friends might as well give up right now and go home. And everybody knows how rhetorically effective it is to accuse your opponents of cynicism, at least in a general election.