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Defensiveness isn't necessary. Obama is the US looking at itself and trying to persuade itself that no, it really doesn't do apartheid. At least, not any more. Or not much, anyway.

In Europe we've had women leaders since the 70s (even if some of them have been insane) and atheist, or at least secular leaders for at least as long. So it's very self-serving to pretend that Obama is a manifestation of the American Dream, and that Europe is behind and supposed to be playing catch-up.

Just because there's a guy with a black face in charge doesn't mean that ethnic apartheid has disappeared, or that economic apartheid and systemic inequality aren't the foundations of US politics to an extent that would be unthinkable in the more progressive parts of Europe.

A small minority of people clawing their way to the top doesn't mean that 'opportunity' is a reality for the majority. That's not going to be become true until the Senate and House include a solid majority of individuals who came from dirt poor backgrounds without money or family connections, and who can run without needing to pretend that they're either mainstream Jews or Christians.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jan 20th, 2009 at 05:26:20 PM EST
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