Three days after first published, this column by Thomas Friedman is still among the NYTimes’ most emailed stories. I’ve had it on my shelf since then, thought its time might have passed, but the fact that it’s still in such strong circulation made it the perfect candidate for yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s post no. 400 at this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©.
In all the noise of an endless political season, Friedman discerns a message that obviously resonates with his audience.
Who Will Tell the People?
Op-Ed Columnist | By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN | Published: May 4, 2008
Traveling the country these past five months while writing a book, I’ve had my own opportunity to take the pulse, far from the campaign crowds. My own totally unscientific polling has left me feeling that if there is one overwhelming hunger in our country today it’s this: People want to do nation-building. They really do. But they want to do nation-building in America.
They are not only tired of nation-building in Iraq and in Afghanistan, with so little to show for it. They sense something deeper — that we’re just not that strong anymore. We’re borrowing money to shore up our banks from city-states called Dubai and Singapore. Our generals regularly tell us that Iran is subverting our efforts in Iraq, but they do nothing about it because we have no leverage — as long as our forces are pinned down in Baghdad and our economy is pinned to Middle East oil.
In this age of 24 hour media coverage that blows every hiccup of a celebrity or a candidate into breathtaking NEWS!; in this age of “spin;” in this age of fiddling while Rome burns [“reality” television my a–!]; Friedman says that the American people are, at long last, ready for Reality.
We need a president who is tough enough to tell the truth to the American people.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
Friedman sees value in the aspirational messages of Barack Obama.
… the notion that the idealism he has inspired in so many young people doesn’t matter is dead wrong.
Electing leaders who will lead the country out of its unseemly decline should be the criteria for November. The true patriot is the one who sees what’s wrong with her or his country, knows, perhaps from personal experience, what greatness is possible, and inspires all of its citizens to bend to the task of making things right.
Measured to that scale, is there any doubt about who should be the next president?
It’s it for now. Thanks,
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