Sunday, October 12


Obama campaign in Davenport
by Ian Le

Part I

Yesterday I went to Davenport, Iowa to campaign for Barack Obama. I
did this with great reluctance. I usually watch politics from afar.
I find too much of the political commentary in the media to be focused
on passing stories whose significance is overblown.

Rather than analysis, we get stories about personality,
he-said/she-said gossip, tactical maneuvers, and premature predictions
which are more often than not wrong. When there's no news, the media
makes news. Thoreau, in this as in many other things, had it right:

All this is fed by a desire to understand (and therefore to create the
illusion that we can control) the complex, bewildering world around
us. We fabricate stories to make sense of the chaos that is
life--this is the same impulse that lies behind the creation of art.
And the best art, rather than being reductionistic, takes a broad
worldview that embraces reality's complexities and contradictions.

One should take a similarly supple view of history--it is not the
history of great men, of politics and power or of dramatic events.
The story of human progress is glacial; elections aren't determined by
scandals so much as webs of unseen powers and forces that we can't
immediately comprehend.

It is for that reason that I shy away from any involvement with
politics, which I believe can distract us from the issues of living
that are timeless--love, death, reverence, ethics. I consider my
civic obligations to be to vote, to discuss my views with others, and,
most importantly, to live my life as an expression of my values.

I went to Iowa mostly to see what it would be like to campaign, to
canvas door to door. I did it more out of sociological curiosity than
political passion. And I have to admit I was surprised by the

-Ian Le