Yes, OK, I agree that it was a historic week with the United States electing its first nonwhite president. Now can we please give the self-congratulatory back-patting a rest. The only reason this is so amazing is that the world’s expectations of the US were so incredibly low. You must understand that how you think of Sarah Palin – an obnoxious hillbilly who doesn’t know Africa is a continent – is much the same as how the rest of the world thinks of the U.S.
Ever since the election, the U.S. media has been spouting exactly the kind of irrelevant bullshit that boils my blood. Here are the three salient themes.
1. Obama won in a landslide / doesn’t have a mandate.
Obama won with a six percent spread. Yes, the moronic electoral college system converted this modest lead into a seemingly two-to-one wailing, but if you want to understand someone’s nationwide approval and acceptance, it’s the six percent nationally that matters. This is not a landslide. I would argue that even a 60-40 split would not count as a landslide in any country where people vote on issues. However, recent Republican arguments that Obama lacks a mandate are absurd, given that George Bush supposedly had a mandate after losing the popular vote to Al Gore.
2. This could only happen in America
No, but only in America could people this ignorant become political pundits. Kofi Annan, a black man, was Secretary-General of the UN for 10 years. Peru elected an ethnically Japanese leader, Alberto Fujimori, in 1990. Canada has elected Francophone (native French-speaking) leaders more often than not for the past 100 years. Benazir Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a muslim state (Pakistan) twenty years ago. And if you think there’s more racism in the US than sexism in the muslim world, you’re sadly misinformed. Bhutto paid for her success with her life when she was assassinated last December.
3. Barrack Obama Represents “Change”
I’m highly conflicted about this. On one hand, Obama is clearly an intelligent man, so he’s a big change from President numbnuts. On the other hand, Obama has consistently campaigned and represented himself as a moderate. To understand why this is troubling, you must understand that “moderate” means something very different in the U.S. than in the rest of the world. The U.S. has two parties, a conservative party and a lunatic fascist theocracy party. Anybody who claims to be a moderate is therefore somewhere between conservatism and lunacy.
Don’t get me wrong. If I lived in the U.S., I would have voted for Obama. He was clearly the better choice. But that’s just the point. More than 40% of voters favored the clearly inferior choice.