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Monday, November 7, 2016


My son, Tobias Barrington Wolff, has written this Credo for Election Day.  I urge you to read it and pass it on.


TheDudeDiogenes said...

Any way you could post the text here, for those of us without Facebook?

Jim Westrich said...

A Credo for Election Day by Tobias Barrington Wolff

I am Mexican, born in the United States to immigrant parents who worked hard to make sure that their kids would have a better life than they ever could.

I am Muslim, and I seek to live the true tenets of my faith in a world that equates Islam with terror and treats me like a threat.

I am a woman, and while I may not always show it, I know when a man is trying to use shame and humiliation to deny my equality and crush my spirit.

I am a Jew, grandchild of Holocaust survivors, and I refuse to be silent when anti-Semitism tries to gain a new foothold in our politics.

I am disabled, and I fight every day to be recognized for my accomplishments and my character rather than mocked for the things that make me different.

I am Christian, and humility and charity are values I live by, not just words on a page.

I am Black, and I do not live in the inner city, or else I do, and either way I am called once again to educate my country about institutionalized violence.

I am transgender, and I am a whole human being, not just a sign on a bathroom door.

I am a Republican, and I am appalled to see my party taken over by a group of brutal thugs who have replaced its high ideals with a smoldering ember of bitterness.

I am a factory worker, a teacher, a member of the military, a home health aide, and I know the difference between a public servant who cares about my family and a huckster who wraps his arms around the flag and calls it patriotism.

And I know the difference, too, between good men talking in locker rooms and a man who brags about getting away with sexual assault.

I believe that voting is our highest obligation as citizens and that public service is noble when it is done well.

I believe that true strength comes from compassion and that cruelty is the crutch of the morally weak.

I believe that respect is earned through hard work, not empty boasts and petty threats.

I believe that leaders should seek to inspire us by celebrating our virtues, not try to frighten us by playing to our basest instincts.

I am every race, sex, religion and creed, and I have learned through painful experience that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

I am America, and I refuse to let a racist demagogue tell me that the American dream is dead.

This is what Stronger Together means to me.

This is why I will vote.

And this is why I’m with her.

s. wallerstein said...

Very eloquent and well-written, but I have a question.

For me, the American dream is something out of Arthur Miller's Dream of a Salesman or F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. That is, it's the dream of "making it", of being successful, of being a winner, of upward social mobility, etc. It's an illusion, but one which keeps the masses working hard trying to beat the next guy to the cemetery.

I'm sure that Tobias Wolff does not mean that when he refers to the American dream. Maybe someone can explain what his meaning is.

Tom Cathcart said...

I would guess that Tobias is talking about decency and respect and dignity and striving for equality rather than making it. Dad?

s. wallerstein said...

Tom Cathcart,


Robert Paul Wolff said...

I do not usually talk about my sons, save to brag about them in the time honored fashion of proud fathers, but S. Wallerstein's question [and Tom Cathcart's spot on reply] compel me to say something about my son. Tobias is not only a brilliant legal theoretician and a tireless fighter for social justice. He is also one of the very few people I have met who embodies the trait that the ancient Romans called gravitas. He is a man of fierce and unyielding conscience and a fidelity to the rule of law that sets him above all but a few of those who regularly sperak in the public space. He has on many occasions defended the inner ethos of the law when doing so set him against those in his profession who would normally be considered his fellows. Although he was an ebullient child, he exhibited this gravitas even as a boy. The Credo he wrote is not sometning I could ever have written. I do not have the maturity it required. But when I read it, I recognized it as his authentic voice.

s. wallerstein said...

Dr. Wolff,

Thank you for your reply.

I don't have the maturity or gravitas to have written it either. In favor of we who grew old without growing our gravitas, I'd say that while gravitas is certainly a virtue, a bit of sophomoric immaturity (of which I've been accused) also has its merits at times.

I have an old friend who is much more successful than I am and one day he pointed out that I have spent my whole life asking questions that serious people stop asking after age 17. So be it.

Tom Cathcart said...

s wallerstein

Don't stop.

A fellow sophomore

s. wallerstein said...

Thank you, Tom.

I'll try to live up to sophomore standards.

LFC said...

small typo by S Wallerstein: it's 'Death of a Salesman' not 'Dream of a Salesman'

also, a procedural note: I'm not on Facebook but I clicked on the link anyway, as sometimes it's possible for non-members to read single Facebook posts (or so I've found), and I got a 'page unavailable' notice and then had to close the browser to get out. Fwiw.

Melchizidek said...

Long time lurker, fan, reader of the blog. Also Trump voter.

Seems as if global capitalism, immigration, and diversity are dissolving the political bonds that hold nations together, and that bind elites to their native working classes. It looks like it has been the bourgeoisie and not the proletariat that has internationalized, no?

I know this is a tough election.
Wishing everyone the all the best.

TV said...

Professor Wolff, first of all I want to say that from the UK, I share the pain you and most Americans (not enough of whom showed up to the polls, sadly) must feel like now. I am feeling physically sick.
I also wanted to ask if there is any way you can report Anonymous above, as well as deleting his comment of course. Unsurprisingly, the same thing that happened here after Brexit is occurring. The fascists and racists are slinking out of the gutters. Although it is hard to believe he (anonymous, yes, but it's a HE, like most of the wholly deplorable Trump voters). What a sad moment for America and for the world. This is nothing short of a disaster.