Virginia Postrel has several posts about Barack Obama, and how he projects a classic Glamour; in other words people are somewhat bespelled by him, failing to see and listen to what he really says, but instead they project what they want to see and hear upon him.
What happens when the spell breaks and the Obamaglam fades? Nat Hentoff’s article in the Bee is instructional.
Words are powerful, and they do have meaning and purpose when they are spoken at the right moment of history and at the right place:
There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass’sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin. — President John F. Kennedy, 1963
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! — President Ronald Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gates 1987
Even powerful speeches and words lose all meaning and effect when they are not backed with clear resolve and firm action. Kennedy’s words were backed up by a large increase in our strategic nuclear forces; Reagan’s words were backed by nuclear missiles stationed in Europe and a missile defense initiative. Because Reagan’s and Kennedy’s words had power, purpose and meaning, and because they backed those words with firm resolve and clear policy the history of our world was changed and freedom expanded.
So here lies the challenge Senator Barack Obama: if you go to the Brandenburg gates and speak it would be without purpose or meaning because those gates are now open and the people past the gates are already free.
Instead why not become a true leader — one who promotes the cause of freedom in this world?