Why Obama's Message Resonates with Millions
Here's an excerpt:
We've become trained to look for the man behind the mask, for in real life there is no one whose emotional life is confined to a lifelong, passionate love for his high school sweetheart wife and their two children, an undying appreciation for the sacrifice of soldiers, awe before the flag and concern for the future of the middle class. Oh, and a burning passion for reducing dependence on foreign oil 30 percent by 2018 and for full federal funding for special education. Because that's the standard we set for our presidential candidates; anyone who reveals himself to have other things going on inside, to be more human than that, never makes it this far.
But I'm not sure there is a mask when it comes to Barack Obama. It sounds crazy, but he might actually be this guy, this couldn't-possibly-exist guy, inside and out. I heard Joe Lieberman talk about his middle-class dad, I heard Hillary plaster every corner of Pennsylvania with talk about her grandfather's sojourn in the lace factory, I heard John Edwards tell everyone who would listen, and even some who wouldn't, about what being the son of a millworker meant to him, and in every case I could feel the cold hand of political calculation crawling up my shirt as they spoke.
Then I hear Obama tell audiences about his grandmother and her time working on a bomber assembly line during World War II. Intellectually I know it's the same thing -- but when you actually watch him in person, you get this crazy sense that these schlock ready-for-paperback patriotic tales really are a big part of his emotional makeup. You listen to him talking about his grandfather waving a little American flag on the Hawaiian beach as he watched the astronauts come in to shore, and you can almost see that these moments actually have some kind of poetic meaning for him, and that he views his own already-historic run as a continuation of that pat-but-inspirational childhood story -- putting a man on the moon then, putting a black man in the White House now.