Obama Considering Run for The Presidency

Today, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senator Barack Obama openly acknowledged for the first time that he was considering a run for president in 2008, backing off from his previous statements that he would not do so. The Illinois Democratic senator said that he could no longer stand by the statements he made after his 2004 election and earlier this year that he would serve a full six-year term in Congress. However, he stated that he would not announce a firm decision until after the November 7th elections.

Obama was largely unknown outside of Illinois, until he burst onto the national scene with his widely acclaimed Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In recent weeks, his political stock has been rising as a potentially viable centrist candidate for president in 2008, especially after former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner announced earlier this month that he was bowing out of the race.

In a recent issue of Time Magazine, Obama’s face fills the cover next to the headline, “Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President.” He is currently on wildly successful national tour promoting his latest book, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

On Sunday, Obama dismissed notions that he might not be ready to run for president because of his limited experience in national politics. However, he agreed the job requires a “certain soberness and seriousness” and “can’t be something you pursue on the basis of vanity and ambition.” “I’m not sure anyone is ready to be president before they’re president,” Obama said. “I trust the judgment of the American people.”

Accepting the Challenge of Uncertainty

 

Uncertainties

Andrew Sullivan recently suggested a need for us to revisit “the vital importance of doubt” as an antidote to ideological certainty. To my thinking, however, emphasizing the issue of doubt does not reach to the core of providing a real personal alternative when one is faced with absolutist ideologies. The reification of doubt in the face of ideology can too easily foster a general state of indecisiveness and paralysis. Rather, a more solid alternative to the grandiose and domineering convictions based upon ideological certainty is a way of thinking that is characterized by the welcome embracing of the sense of uncertainty in principle, accompanied in the foreground by a conviction about how a particular line of thought or responsiveness could be creatively constructive.

Nevertheless, I found the comments that a reader sent to Sullivan on the issue of doubt versus certainty to be thought-provoking. The reader’s comments are accompanied by a particular video segment, which he feels provides an emotionally moving experience of the consequences of ideological certainty.

That reader wrote to Sullivan:

Your comments about the necessity to recognize doubt reminded me of the most profound moment I ever witnessed on television, namely, the final episode of a series called “The Ascent of Man”, which aired in the early 70’s. You may of course be well versed in this already, and forgive me if you do, but briefly, the narrator (Dr. Jacob Bronowski) contrasted the certainty of Nazism with the contemporaneous Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Standing in a swamp behind one of the Nazi death camps, Dr. Bronowski bent forward, and ran his hands through the muck of this swamp that contained the bodily remains of some of his family, while trying to explain the consequences of ideological certainty. I cannot think or tell of this without tears, and yet we seem never to learn these lessons.”

 

THE ASCENT OF MAN

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