Tuesday, June 10, 2008

look at the two candidates' fathers

As we simplistically blather about the candidates' race and age – it's hip vs hip operation, folks – we seem to be ignoring the best guide we have to John McCain and Barack Obama's hearts.

Both men have written strange, searching books about their fathers. It is in their pages that we can find the clearest clues to their potential presidencies. At first glance, these slabs of non-fiction – Dreams From My Father by Obama, and Faith of My Fathers by McCain – are strikingly similar. They both tell the autobiographical story of an insecure young man who flails around for an identity, and finds it by chasing the ghost of his absent father to a dangerous place far beyond the United States. Yet Obama ended up writing a complex story of colonised people – while McCain wrote a simple celebration of the coloniser.

Johann Hari in last Friday's Independant: If you really want to understand what this race is about, look at the two candidates' fathers