Awareness in “Abundence”

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Andrew Stern is the president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He’s a big supporter of Barack Obama. In early December, something was published at The Huffington Post under Stern’s name. Here’s some of it:

“President Obama’s awareness of the breadth, depth and complexity of the choices facing this country can be described as nothing short of impressive. From weighing the options of long term investment versus short term stimulus to assessing the merits of structural deficits compared to short term job creation, his thoughtful analysis made one thing abundantly [sic] clear: President Obama is the right leader for this moment of unprecedented challenges.”

What crap. Aside from highlighting The Huffington Post’s need for better spellchecking software, this press release shows something we’ve previously discussed in these pages: modern American statists focus on the existential qualities of political leaders. The president doesn’t have to do anything. He’s to be judged (and, in this case, praised) for merely being aware.

This is a ridiculous scheme for measuring public office holders. And it’s ultimately damaging to public offices. If public figures are measured only by what they are, existentially, their actions don’t matter. To someone like Andrew Stern, that may be the goal.

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