Rushdie has an unusually brilliant take on America in the wake of Sep 11. The lectures ends with a hope:
“We are living I believe in a frontier time, one of the great hinge periods in human history, in which great changes are coming about at great speed. On the plus side, the end of the cold war, the revolution in communications technology, great scientific achievements such as the completion of the human genome project; in the minus column, a new kind of war against new kind of enemies fighting with terrible new weapons. We will all be judged by how we handle ourselves in this time.
What will be the spirit of this frontier? Will we give the enemy the satisfaction of changing ourselves into something like their hate-filled, illiberal mirror image, or will we, as the guardians of the modern world, as the guardians of freedom and the occupants of privileged lands of plenty, go on trying to increase freedom and decrease injustice? Will we become the suits of armour our fear makes us put on, or will we continue to be ourselves? The frontier both shapes our character and tests our mettle. I hope we pass the test.”
Lectures from 2002 that take care of Wright, Ferraro, Bush, McCain and Hillary. Now tell me, was Obama’s soporific speech really as good as this one? The only time I woke up was when he talked of former gang bangers, thinking he was talking about Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer. But even they turned out to be of the wrong kind.