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The Performance of PoliticsObama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power$
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Jeffrey C. Alexander

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744466.001.0001

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Imagining Heroes

Imagining Heroes

(p.63) Chapter Four Imagining Heroes
The Performance of Politics


Oxford University Press

Political stories are all about heroes. It is because Barack Obama could not be a hero in south Chicago's black community that he lost that long-ago congressional race. Only by losing could Obama become a hero on the larger historical stage. There is a purpose to a hero's life. It is this goal that defines an arc stretching from the past to the future via the present, moving the heroes and the greater causes for which they fight from earlier despair to contemporary redemption and on to future glory. Persons who become heroes are predestined to traverse this rainbow arch. This is what the plot to their story is all about. This chapter discusses the hero's predestination and redemption, crisis and salvation, and the suffering and redemption of John McCain. In the campaign for the presidency, McCain played Achilles to Obama's Hector, even if the outcome of their epic confrontation inverted the tragic ending Homer earlier prescribed.

Keywords:   heroes, Barack Obama, predestination, redemption, crisis, salvation, John McCain, presidency

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