American Views Abroad

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
David Corn in Mother Jones on Obama's 'daring and unique' speech on race:

This is a sophisticated a discussion of race as any American politican has sought to present to the public. Obama was not condemning anyone. His key to post-racial transformation? End the blame game. In the end, he argued, black-and-white matters less - or should matter less - than issues of class and economic power.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The fat lady isn't singing yet, but she is humming a mournful song. Why do we applaud political races that resemble a scene from the Coliseum? Throw your opponent to the lions, maul him, spin away as much as possible and the media laps it up. Why not? It sells newspapers.

Take that 3am red scare ad and ask how much this has to do with films and TV and how little it has to do with reality. Did 9/11 come in the middle of the night while the children were sleeping? No, it came at 9am on a clear, sunny, cloudless day while they were attending school. At a time when there should have been plenty of response, but there was none. At a time that perfectly attracted the world-wide media. Does attacking an opponent in a political race and standing back testing his or her immediate response prove that candidate will later be the better President? It isn't necessarily snap judgments 24/7 that are needed as much as the ability to grasp in-depth knowledge on just about everything going on in this world. It is probably far more important to be able to have the best advisors around and the ability to listen to them and then decide on a course of action.

What comes across this primary season 'over here' is a vivid sense of democray being played out and an interestingly new perception of the US. It suddenly isn't the red states vs the blue ones. Rather there are those states, often sidelined in an election season, that seem far more interested in experimenting in change as opposed to those crucial large states that seem to clutch to the status quo. Residents of New York and California see themselves as front-runners on all things new and progressive, but that is not the signal these primaries are sending out. It is a pity that one candidate sees things too much through the lens of the Electoral College, which still denies the principle of one person, one vote.

Postscript: In Dreams from Obama by Darryl Pinckney at

Black people can appreciate as much as white people the inclusiveness of his mixed-race heritage and that his story is in part that of an immigrant. But this is not a color-blind election. People aren't voting for Obama in spite of the fact that he is black, or because he is only half-black, they are voting for him because he is black, and this is a whole new feeling in the country and in presidential politics.

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