Shoring uncertain times (17 January 2009)

Last day. I meet with cousins of my mother. Crab cake at Legal Sea Foods. Despite their age, they have an active life. He is still the newsletter editor for the joint MIT/Harvard training course in public health that he founded 30 years ago. He writes in particular the review of recent scientific publications. Keeps me fit, he says. Full report on the state of three generations on both sides of the Atlantic, with photographical documentation.

In the plane, thanks to the time difference, I find the morning edition of Libération. They asked three American fiction writers to comment on the stakes of Barack Obama’s taking function. Overflowing with political intelligence and constructive spirit. There is a consciousness of the immensity of challenges, and of the role of the rejection of Bush in the election. This does not prevent them from developing a constant effort to shore up the possibles. Some extracts (my apologies to the authors for translating back their words to English, this must be a bit like Chinese whispers):

One sees in [his autobiography] that Obama is a man from everywhere, that it took time time to gather all his parts. It is very interesting that he becomes President of a nation who closed itself ever more along the years.
Paul Auster

Thus, we must not let ourselves fall into a cynical disappointment, simply because he will reveal himself to be human. He always said he was. It’s us who called him a saviour. Inevitably, Mr. Obama will be scrutinized and probably judged in lashing terms by the political right. However, considering how much is at stake, all of us must accompany judiciously and vigilantly his presidency, as a testimony of our Republic’s vitality, and to make sure that four years from now, when America will approach a new decisive moment in its history, we will know what to do.
Richard Ford

… beyond the consumerism and mercantilism that so profoundly modelled the US, there are millions of cultured North Americans, aware of the imperfections of their society and of the expectations of the rest of the world, pluralist and secular, who reject the simplistic Manichaeism of the republicans and understand that constructive doubts and the recognition of the contradictions inherent to the human nature are the basis of what constitutes a thinking being. The most fantastic thing is that we chose one of them for President.
Douglas Kennedy

In the same issue there is an editorial piece from Mathieu Lindon. I am not sure he fully understands what is a constructive doubt.

This post is also available in: French

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