Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama, Africa & The American System.

The real miracle of this day is not just that he's African-American, but that he's really African, his father being born in Africa.

For most of its history, America has been a very Euro-centric and then Asia-centric (where every electronic item we use seems to be made).

But Africa has been this big blind spot.

Now we have a president who is a son of that continent in a very direct way. I think that's a remarkable testament to democracy, free enterprise and the personal initiative (that the system rewards it rather than punishes it as in an authoritarian system) and abilities of a little Black kid whose mom was on welfare -- an American "slumdog," if you will -- that he could rise to the top of his class
in Harvard and then become president of the United States, married to a daughter of the daughter of slaves. This is the promise of America, spelled out for real. This is the tangible proof of the effectiveness of the American constitution and way.

I am unhappy with some of the things around Barack Obama. But as a symbol of hope to the rest of the world, that we aren't just talk, that we have risen above class and created an egalitarian society, you don't get a better story than this.

Additionally, no longer can someone say that America is just "white men telling non-white people what to do." This is a game changer in so many ways, most of them we haven't even thought about yet.

UPDATE: In re-reading his speech, this stuck out:
“Because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”
"The lines of tribe."

An African brought into slavery would have seen the White man as just another tribe to fight against. Now the "ruler" of the all the tribes of this land is an African man. An African man dedicated to dissolving the lines of tribe.

It's poetry.


Anonymous said...

I was with you until you compared the day to that HIDEOUS movie...is that your final answer? Can I use a lifeline? UGH

LOL - remember I am your friend :-)

Devin Richards said...

I see Obama as a true African-American. He is both
Maybe one day those of us many generations in will just get to be
American like it should be for people who have not remotely immigrated here and whose ancestors for many generations did not immigrate here but were born here, and the race can simply for once be Human

Mage said...

Very exciting. I have grown cynical over the last eight years. Uninvolved. Obama remains a politician, but he has also given us the gift of hope. One can do anything if one has hope.

Anonymous said...

Devin - I agree - my family is originally from Mexico (Dad was born there, Mom in TX - her parents from Mex). I have been to Mexico - I have met Mexicans - I am NOT a Mexican - I am an American (as American as a buritto - you can't find burittos in Mexico :-)

So like you and Steve have said (and Obama) - maybe one day we can call ourselves the tribe of HUMANS - that will be a good day.

Anonymous said...

Gee Steve, If your going to bring up race,why are you leaving out the fact,like so many others do, that he is half Caucasian and was basically raised by Caucasians.

To be fair, if people are going to stress the “African” part , why not The "Caucasian" part? I guess we really need more work on being a “color blind” society.

Steve Schalchlin said...

> To be fair, if people are going to stress the “African” part , why not The "Caucasian" part?

Because it's not unusual to have a Caucasian president. :)

Chris said...

We've been given a gift....Let's just feel greatful...it could be worse!

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