Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rootlessness, America and Identity

A couple days ago the NYT had a fascinating article about Barack Obama (and John McCain), rootlessness, wandering, and the American identity. A someone who has only just passed the two year mark living in Connecticut (a tenure of residence in one state unparalleled since since the day I graduated college) I found the read interesting and engaging.

They offer a lengthy meditation on the subject, weaving together literary references, discussion of the wanderer as essentially American, but also the wander as feared and mistrusted. Towards the end they also present an alternate take, asking if Obama, who has lived in Chicago for years now, is once married, has a seemingly stable family, and wants to maintain his ties to Chicago, is in fact more rooted than your average politician.

As I think about it, I also now wonder how the Obama/Biden ticket offers an interesting sampling of wandering with rooted-ness. Biden certainly, as someone who regularly commutes home to Delaware even while the Senate is in session, displays strong roots and ties to the community that has elected him many times over.

The article is worth a read, and I'd love other peoples' reflections on it, if you have any to share in comments!

1 comment:

Venice said...

I enjoyed the Cormac McCarthy shout-out! Though I guess these days he's everyone's favourite writer, so I sholdn't be surprised. I had to skip what they said about him, since it seemed like they might be giving away the ending of one of his books. Hate that. Thanks for sharing!