Having just watched the majority of Obama’s speech tonight, I recognize that his appeal to patriotism is as unique as his approach to the financial crisis. Throughout, Obama praised military service, community service, American automakers, the GI bill, and the halls of the Congress itself. He now wears the American flag on his lapel and his quick push into the Republican section of the Congress, following his speech, was a conscious attempt to appeal to those who would so easily dismiss his “Muslim” or “foreign” roots.
This is a real example of Obama’s genius. He is able to transcend the real differences between groups and ask a kind of “forgiveness” for his liberal indiscretions among his conservative colleagues – without at all admitted guilt or insecurity about his worldview. With great care, places himself in the center of the conflict in a highly personalized way that embodies the dialectic he represents. As a constitutional scholar, I’m sure that Obama was introduced to the idea that, by collapsing the old order onto the new, he can transform the material world and our relationship to history.
In fact, I think a argument could be made that Obama is in many ways a student of dialectical materialism, a fundamental component of historical Marxism, which states, in part, that everything is transmuted by our work and our relationship to nature – and that history reflects the massive transmutation of that relationship.
It is an eternal cycle in which matter moves, a cycle that certainly only completes its orbit in periods of time for which our terrestrial year is no adequate measure, a cycle in which the time of highest development, the time of organic life and still more that of the life of being conscious of nature and of themselves, is just as narrowly restricted as the space in which life and self-consciousness come into operation. A cycle in which every finite mode of existence of matter, whether it be sun or nebular vapour, single animal or genus of animals, chemical combination or dissociation, is equally transient, and wherein nothing is eternal but eternally changing, eternally moving matter and the laws according to which it moves and changes.
Dialectics of Nature
And even better:
It shows that history does not end by being resolved into “self-consciousness as spirit of the spirit”, but that in it at each stage there is found a material result: a sum of productive forces, an historically created relation of individuals to nature and to one another, which is handed down to each generation from its predecessor; a mass of productive forces, capital funds and conditions, which, on the one hand, is indeed modified by the new generation, but also on the other prescribes for it its conditions of life and gives it a definite development, a special character. It shows that circumstances make men just as much as men make circumstances. [italics mine]
The German Ideology