"For us let it be enough to know ourselves to be in the place where God wants us, and carry on our work, even though it be no more than the work of an ant, infinitesimally small, and with unforeseeable results."
-- Abbé Monchanin

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Clean Politician?

I've been interested in response to Joe Biden's description of Barak Obama as "clean" and "articulate." I guess during my years in Africa I lost touch with the lingering racial stereotypes and sensitivities clouding minds in the USA.

When I heard Obama described as "clean" I thought, "Praise God, at last a clean politician!" (My own stereotypes are being revealed.) In a city full of "dirty politicians," one "clean" one would be an answer to prayer.

Then I heard complaints about Obama being described as "articulate" when Clinton and Kennedy are described as "eloquent." Again, the connotations of the words seem to be different for me than for the critics. I understand "articulate" as indicating an ability to clearly and concisely communicate ideas so that their content can be well understood. "Eloquent" indicates to me, speech that is verbose, entertaining but often without meaningful content. "Articulate" indicates substantive communication whereas "eloquent" can be a way of covering up lack of substance or even border on obfuscation. One becomes eloquent when he has nothing to say or wishes to respond to a question without really answering it. (My own sensitivities are again revealed.)

So, for me, "clean" and "articulate" are high words of praise for Barak Obama. May he live up to that standard. We need that.

[Heard about two guys walking by a cemetery where they saw a tombstone with the words: "Here lies ---- an honest man and a great politician" One fellow turned to the other and said, "I didn't know you could bury two men in one grave."]

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