Feelings behind policy

In Tuesday’s Boston Globe, Washington bureau chief Peter S. Canellos started off his article with the following words, “Barack Obama is one of the rare Democrats who often choose to explain the values behind a policy rather than the policy itself.” The word, values, popped out of the sentence, and jogged my memory of reading an article in The American Scholar, titled ‘Frederick Douglass Forgives: Honoring the emotions that lead to liberal principles’, written by Nick Bromell.

In all, Obama is reminding voters, colleagues and the competition of what it means to speak from the heart, infused with feelings which drive “liberal values with meaning”. He is composed with “liberal-mindedness”, sharing faith, hope and charity.

If Douglass where here today he would agree with Obama’s approach in explaining policy to the American people and beyound. Furthermore, he would revisit Bromell’s words along with his own, “a liberal’s deepest convictions are more than just ideas, values, or principles. They are also feelings – feelings “of justice and fair play common to every honest heart,” feelings that revolt “against popular prejudice and meanness,” feelings that are told to man by “tongues in trees, sermons in stones, and books in the running brooks.””


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