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View Diary: To my fellow Obamab*ts - Snowden/Greenwald bashing is Missing the Point (318 comments)

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  •  At the risk of opening myself up (I usually (26+ / 0-)

    do not comment in these kinds of diaries), I think the conflating of people and personalities with the long-standing, ongoing issues is a mistake. These people who populate the story: Obama, Bush, Snowden, Greenwald, Assange, Hoover, whomever it is, and especially personal "judgements" about these people, are not an effective way to address the ISSUE.

    My emotional reaction to Obama has very little role to play in my opinion about the surveillance state. My reaction to Assange's opinion about abortion is simply not relevant to what Wikileaks has done to expose the abuses of government.

    This is beyond the individuals. It usually is. Sometimes there are very special individuals (Stalin and Gandhi would be examples from opposite ends) where the personality is at least as important as the issue. But for most things, it is not.

    •  Yep. (6+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, we're particularly conditioned to refract our understanding of historical forces through the lens of individual actors.  And these actors are freighted with a ton of symbolic meaning.  Obama is at least as much a symbolic figure as he is a flesh-and-blood man.  That goes for all those folks on your list.  In addition to everything else, these people become shorthand gestures for our hopes or fears.  Archetypes, bumper stickers.  And their symbolic freight isn't stable either -- it's contested.  There's no question that the right wing version of Obama is almost entirely symbolic -- he represents something to those folks, something far bigger than who he is.  And it's in this realm we often disagree here, because there's so much negative freight being thrown at the guy, so much baggage that fundamentally misunderstands him.

      Anyway, Americans love to reduce everything to the individual level.  And we love the idea of good and evil duking it out in front of the saloon.  And the fate of American politics hangs on this problem.

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