Friday, November 7, 2008

Judith Butler: 'Uncritical Exuberance?'

By Ben Trott

In an article written in the last couple of days, philosopher and queer theorist Judith Butler argues against the idea that Obama's election represents some kind of national 'redemption'.  'The election of Obama', she argues, 'means that the terrain for debate and struggle has shifted, and it is a better terrain, to be sure. But it is not the end of struggle, and we would be very unwise to regard it that way, even provisionally.' As the article draws to a close, she argues,
'If a consequential and dramatic disappointment is to be averted, he will have to act quickly and well. Perhaps the only way to avert a "crash" – a disappointment of serious proportions that would turn political will against him – will be to take decisive actions within the first two months of his presidency. The first would be to close Guantanamo and find ways to transfer the cases of detainees to legitimate courts; the second would be to forge a plan for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and to begin to implement that plan. The third would be to retract his bellicose remarks about escalating war in Afghanistan and pursue diplomatic, multilateral solutions in that arena. If he fails to take these steps, his support on the left will clearly deteriorate, and we will see the reconfiguration of the split between liberal hawks and the anti-war left. If he appoints the likes of Lawrence Summers to key cabinet positions, or continues the failed economic polices of Clinton and Bush, then at some point the messiah will be scorned as a false prophet.'
The article has been posted online here.

1 comment:

mbuitron said...

By asking Obama to avoid disillusion and placate his liberal base will upset the social conservatives that voted yes on Obama and Proposition 8. To steal a line from Obama, we didn't vote for the guy we wanted to have a beer with (W), we voted for the guy we wanted to have the chai soy latte with (O).