Tuesday, November 04, 2008

excuse me???

this editorial disgusts me more than anything i've read in an extremely long time.

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first of all, criticizing america doesn't mean that people hate the country. it merely means that they admit that it's not perfect. there are oceans between pointing out the flaws in something and hating it. and, someone's got to do far more than just "go on and on about slavery, about racism, about how black people have been held down and held back" to fall into the category of hating the country. those are very legitimate criticisms about our history, and flaws that still need to be addressed today and as long as there are any racial disparities whatsoever about how people are treated.

in short, racism isn't dead, and admitting this fact does not constitute treason.

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secondly, he moves his criticism from the citizens to barack obama. he condemns the kind of change that he feels obama represents, stating that "Obama represents change from American exceptionialism to America as just another nation. He represents change from America as a leader of the free world to America as just a peer with the likes of France or Germany...These black elites do not respect America. America is special, truly exceptional. I don't think that Obama believes that about America."

the idea of american exceptionalism bothers me deeply. there are things in our government that make it great. i treasure democracy, and i treasure the american ideal that this country ought to be a melting pot that welcomes anyone and everyone who wants to work hard to try to make it. we are unique.

but, this attitude is dangerous for at least two glaring reasons. first of all, it belittles the fact that we are not the only country who has made strides to provide freedoms to its citizens over the last two hundred years. america's road is unique, but unique does not necessarily mean best. just because we live in a great nation does not mean that our nation is the only great nation, and thinking that way will only make it more likely that we will alienate other countries with which we share some [even many!] values in common.

furthermore, this columnist's attitude is exactly the kind of attitude that has caused our nation's esteem in the world to plummet during the bush administration. we need a government that stands up for the interests of the american people, but we cannot have a government that will readily insult, belittle, and trample over other equally sovereign nations to get there. the bush administration's arrogance has made our country a laughingstock.

so what if this columnist thinks that obama will relate with other countries as if we're a peer with other nations in the free world? we need that desperately. it's the only way we can even begin to repair the damage that has been done to our standing in the world over these last eight years.

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