Congratulations to President-Elect Obama …

by Kenneth Anderson

from someone who supported the other guy.  It is a great day for this country, and one of the things that makes and keeps the United States great is that Barack Obama will be my president too.  

I remember asking someone in the Georgian civil wars why this was all worth a civil war, why not an election – he looked at me as though I had lost my mind and said, here in this country, we only have elections once.  The winner wins it for good; that is why the stakes are so high.  We do not trust that there will be a next time, and if the president comes from one side, he is not the president of the other side, not really.  There might be a next time, but because you can’t be sure, you fight now.  

My daughter said grace tonight at dinner and paused to ask God to bless President-elect Obama – for which, given that she was wearing a Palin t-shirt, and I’m entirely certain the only one to be found at Sidwell school, I was very happy.  At some point down the road, I’ll start noisily disagreeing with President Obama, but this is a time to celebrate the moment, because it is one of the great days in the long history of this country.

3 Responses

  1. My humble musical letter to President Obama: Best, Hannah Friedman

  2. I do feel sad that we are still not color blind. We are all happy and celebrating this “historic Moment” when the world sees that the US elects the president by his color. Blacks voted 96% for Obama, that is racism at its full.
    We didn’t vote for the better men, for the men with most credentials, for the men that have proved himself through his career and his actions.  But we voted to prove that we are color blind which only proves the opposite. If both candidates would have been green McCain would have won.
    I think that you can tell by both speeches who is the better and most prepared men. McCain talked about the unity of the US, he was gracious and he still showed character by asking his audience not to booo Obama and that Obama was his president and we all as Americans have to do something for the US.
    Obama on the other hand had a well written speech, but before talking as a politician, at the beginning of the speech it was clear that he was not looking for the best result for the US, he just padded his back saying what a great campaign and what a great person he was. It was like if it was his personal victory…… like if he won a medal. He didn’t win, he was chosen to do a job, he was trusted with the most important job, and he didn’t win a contest.
    I just hope he gives a good image to the rest of the world and that he surrounds himself with good advisors.
    I don’t guide myself by color; I think Colin Powel could be one of the best presidents we could ask for.

  3. Carlos, what a ridiculous post. You’re entitled to respect McCain, but your assertion that Obama was elected by racism is ridiculous.

    First of all, you don’t understand what racism is. Racism is a belief in the inferiority of other racial out groups. So, supporting someone because of their race isn’t racism, it’s just a case of poor reasoning. And we don’t have any reason to believe Obama’s support was actually based on his race in this way, crowding out other legitimate reasons such as his position on the war, his steady handedenss, his uplifting oratory, his impressive campaigning and his intelligence, for example.

    What you’re attempting to do is argue based on a crude form of revealed preferences – which is a terrible form of argument.

    Second, you can’t take the high black support for Obama as being purely racial solidarity, when there’s obvious and clear evidence pointing to an alternative, consistent explanation: that is, large majorities of African Americans favour all Democratic presidential candidates.

    Obama has simply boosted this already solid figure which existed for Kerry and Gore, and inspired higher turn-outs among black people, which is the kind of windfall you’d expect from any minority ethnic identity or religion competing for president.

    As for why black people mainly vote Democratic? There’s no mystery to it. It’s purely a product of US history. The Republican Party has been a haven for racists and pseudo racist coded messaging for decades. Once upon a time, in the era of Eisenhower’s presidency, the black vote was split much more evenly across both parties. Back then, the Democrats were divided between racist Dixiecrats in the south, and their more enlightened northern brethren.

    But then came the civil rights era, and LBJ fought hard against the bigoted parts of his own party to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, which effectively created full enfranchisement and ended desegregation. At the time, LBJ famously said “We have lost the South for a generation,” as a consequence of this stand – that’s exactly what happened and you have the seeds for the basic red-state, blue-state divide we know today.

    At that time, the racist Dixiecrats who were once party of the Democratic Party were adsorbed by the Republican Party, which made a deliberate choice to exploit southern resentments over these changes.

    This is all settled history and you can read about this resentment-based politics by looking up “Southern Strategy” in google.

    So, the reason black Democratic support is so uniform is because black people haven’t forgotten the stance taken by the modern Democrats in fighting for civil rights, and they have every reason to be totally repulsed by the GOP’s nativist/xenophobic instincts and its sad record on racial polarisation, and coded messaging about states-rights, etc., which hid appeals to desegregation grievances in the south.

    Until very recently, this was hardly acknowledged except in off-record comments by Lee Atwater under Nixon, but Ken Mehlman, previous chairman of the RNC, apologised for his party’s behaviour in 2005 and tacictly acknowledged it.

    I doubt you’ll see significant black support for Republicans any time soon as long as they are a haven for such attitudes. Hispanics are looking the same – after the GOP rejected immigration reform so violently under Bush.

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