Saturday, November 8, 2008

London Says: Calm down! He's not President of the World

By Matthew Parris from The London Times Online:

Everyone, from Australia to Kenya, seems to think Obama will improve their lives. They should prepare for disappointment.

When half of mankind seems lifted by hope, nothing looks meaner than to disparage the dream. But what is this Obama mania? The world did not change for ever on Tuesday. No messiah has come among us. Miracles have not become possible. There is no new dawn. Calm down dear, it's only a US presidential election.

Here's my entry for Daniel Finkelstein's Comment Central competition for an eight-word expression of hope for the President-elect of the United States. Eight words precisely. “I hope he will let us down gently.”

But oh, what a long way down: down from the crest of expectation on which Barack Obama now surfs, on to the rough shingle of daily politics. Would that the wave might subside smoothly into the gentle swell of history. Would that it were not destined to break, dashing dreams and spawning new cynicism.

But I fear it will. Writing from Australia, and reading the local and the British press reaction to this election, I am appalled by the unanimity.

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2 Comments:

At November 8, 2008 at 12:37 PM , Blogger Larry G said...

It's not about what he can do or even about what he possibly could do...or even hope to do.

.. it's about the biggest and strongest country in the world - with a clear history of racism...in culture and politics, part and parcel of it's national personality...

making an unequivocal statement that a MAJORITY of voters have rejected racism as a condition of leadership....

... and the rest of the world - has taken note... and yes.. perhaps overreacted....

In a word - the world thinks it is COOL that someone other than the standard stereotypical white man is going to lead the USA.

 
At November 8, 2008 at 1:12 PM , Blogger Eric Martin said...

But Larry, isn't it racist to vote for Barack because he's black? (you'd only be half racist even in that case).

Had he inherited more of his mother's skin color and been born a few shades lighter, would people have gone so crazy for him or do you think they would have looked at his experience and plan more closely?

To elect a leader solely based on any one novelty or trait sure seems irresponsible to me.

I hope his supporters will be equally excited to vote for the first peg-legged Asian president next time because their time has come too you know.

The USA has no more history of racism than any other country in the world, and we have come the farthest away from it to be sure. Yes, some still exists, but studies show that it's more human nature to want to cluster common traits, vocations, sports teams, physical attributes, financial levels or even where you live than about skin color.

Considering Barack's parents are one white and one black, I can't think of a better example of unbiased racial unity, and that was in the 1960's! Try finding that example in China, Russia, or even Africa where the largest volume of prejudiced genocide still occurs today- they hack each other with machetes because of the 'shade' of black people are, or the type of nose piercing or how their heads are shaved, but mostly, it's about land, power and greed, and that's a human trait, not solely a racist one.

None of this should have a thing to do with a person's QUALIFICATIONS to be the leader of the strongest country in the world.

Isn't it just a bit prejudicial to say that we've been run by 'standard stereotypical white men'? The first hundred years can't count since blacks weren't allowed to vote by law. We rightfully overcame that bias as we did women's rights, and now we all have equal 'opportunity' (not to be confused with 'assurances' or 'obligation'.)

That only leaves about 20 presidents to create your stereotype. Maybe we just had 20 men who 'happened' to be white and were the most qualified? After all, statistically speaking, whites have always been the majority by around 70% or more, so it stands to reason that this group would put forth more people in volume, and one would be more likely to win.

Obama was far from the first black man to RUN for president, just the first one to WIN.

He's sure broken every mold and crushed every wall though. He deserves huge points for overcoming the many hurdles that ANY candidate must endure in an election.

Now let's pray, like we do for every president, that he doesn't screw it all up.

I know I'll be clinging to my "guns and Bibles" just in case Obama is a bigger racist than any of his predecessors ... not because he's half-black or half-white, but because he's a Harvard elitist-snob with close ties to convicted terrorists and bigots like Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan!

 

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