Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Look Into Obama's Mind

In unearthing the syllabus and assignments for his seminar in "Current Issues in Racism and the Law" during 12 years of teaching at the University of Chicago, the New York Times offers a preview of how Barack Obama's mind might work in the Oval Office.

For that complex and controversial subject, Obama improvised his own textbook, with key cases like Brown v. Board of Education, and essays by Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Dubois and Malcolm X as well as conservative thinkers like Robert H. Bork.

Amid the historical horrors of slavery and lynchings, students recall, Obama made room for discussing the values and culture that Americans of all races grow up sharing, citing his wife, Michelle, a black woman, who loved “The Brady Bunch” so much that she could identify every episode by its opening scenes.

But perhaps most to the point of how a President Obama would conduct his administration's approach to problem solving may be found in his instructions to students for preparing their term papers:

"What I want to see is that you are fully engaged with an issue, and that you've broken some sweat trying to figure out the problem in all it wonderful complexity.

"More specifically, I'll be looking for: a focused, tightly crafted argument, and analytic rigor in working through the legal or policy problems raised by your argument; a thorough examination of the diversity of opinion that exists on the issue or theme; a willingness, after having looked at the various facets of the topic, to take a stand and offer concrete proposals or approaches to the problem."

That sounds like the essence of what he would telling the people he picks to help him run the country. It certainly would be a change from what we have now.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Sounds like he was a really good prof.