Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Distant Mirror












I love reading up on the USA from an international perspective. It's called critical distance, something that we could all probably enjoy from time to time.

Here are pithy excerpts from Chidanand Rajghatta's "Obama wins, America triumphs," The Times of India (11/5/2008):

The planet's best-loved and often-reviled nation upheld the noble ideals of its founding fathers by electing a mixed-race African-American as its 44th president. . .

. . . pundits hadn't reckoned with an intuitive political genius with a flair for powerful oratory and building bridges. He had turned adversity to advantage, growing up suddenly with the realization that his elite degrees from Columbia and Harvard could be put to better use than latching on to high paying jobs in corporate America. Now he brought all the savvy the world's finest school taught him to the political arena and hired the best talent to build a grassroots movement that people are only now beginning to understand and admire.

In the end, Barack Obama rode the perfect storm of anti-incumbency discontent, the hunger for change, and an America in social and demographic transition to fashion the most incredible electoral victory, the scope and scale of which will be discussed for decades. His most remarkable feat was to transcend racial barriers. Although he openly identified himself as an African-American or black, his politics was not aimed at solely the black electorate, like most African-American politicians tend to do.

Instead, he reached out to the new America, and this kaleidoscopic multi-hued nation, where the current white majority will be a minority by 2042 (and the current minority will be a majority) responded like never before. The Republicans tried to subtly stir up the racial angle, speaking about "real America" and "pro-America parts of the country," thinly disguised euphemisms for white support. It didn't work. They missed the change; the real America was a new America and it was not just white. . .

[Interesting stuff. One thing missing here is discussion of the gender gap favoring Obama, but no worries. We'll hold that thought].

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.

5 comments:

lulu said...

You know, as someone who lives in the distant mirror, I am actually really fucking sick of hearing other peoples' opinions, because they are invariably expressed with much eye rolling and snideness. I have been told repeatedly that I am not like most Americans, because Americans are all closed-minded (kind of a closed-minded statement, huh?).

I'm sick of it.

the walking man said...

*shrug* they have an opinion same as Aljazeera, the London Globe, and the Jerusalem Post; it's all good.

But they should realize that by 2042 Hispanics not Blacks will be the dominant race in this nation.

Sidney said...

Interesting to read.

Charles Gramlich said...

I tend to take exception to statements such as "pro-America" means "pro-white." That may be true for some people who say it, but in most cases it's silly Freudian imagination at work. If people learned to actually pay attention to what people say instead of writing their own interpretation of it we'd all be a lot better off.

Bubs said...

I think that most "foreigners", at least the ones I've met, have the same impression as the entertaining but snide French moocher I met traveling the country back in the early 80's. He said that the only two enduring archetypes that America had given the world were "ze athlete and ze cowboy". I think that most people abroad still view us as being much whiter and cowboy-like than we actually are.