You’re Good Enough, You’re Smart Enough, and Gosh Darnit, You Can Ignore Those Gnawing H

Brian Cook

Just to piggyback on Adam's post below, I think Spackerman's piece on The Obama Doctrine is interesting as well, but unlike some others, I was pretty unmoved by all the talk about "dignity promotion." Maybe it's because I'm an editor, but I prefer it when people call a spade "a spade," or a massive increase in foreign aid, "a massive increase in foreign aid." That's what this "promotion" would entail, which is perfectly fine and good; I think it's a smart, sane, necessary policy. But why try to sneak it in under the cover of a buzzwordy slogan like "dignity promotion"? That makes it sound like we're going to send walking canes, monocles and top hats to the refugees in Darfur and the starving population of Gaza, rather than, say, massive amounts of food, medical supplies, and funding for public housing and education. And of course, there's very little in the Ackerman piece as far as how an Obama administration would specifically go about promoting such dignity. Is he going to send Stuart Smalley--soon to be the Democratic Senator from Minnesota--on goodwill missions? What worries me about this policy is what worries me about Obama in general: People are as anti-"dignity" as much as they are anti-"hope" (HRC apparently excepted). But these are generalities, abstractions, sentiments. Look deeper at how we might make these ideas concrete and one begins to fear that there's not much there there.

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Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.
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