You're still the only one
That will never change faces
Tonight people in Canada were watching the results of the American election and cheering when the Obamannouncement was made. I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes at least three times at some of the restaraunt commentary at Alexanders. At least they shushed people for McCain's speech, which was really impressive. For as much as most of the people I know are all gaga over Obama's speeches, I've never much liked them. They reek of American rhetoric. Getting Americans to believe in the American dream is like asking a starving person to eat, so it's not all that impressive.*
I'm pretty sick of hearing about the racial and gender issues that shouldn't be issues, that shouldn't even be amazing anymore. It shouldn't mean anything that a person whose ancestors weren't European made it in politics. The fact that it's such an issue means we haven't won yet. The fact that people are celebrating the victory of an African American in the U.S.A. means they still recognize the difference and racism is still alive and well. Until all ethnicities become invisible for any other reason than cultural history we haven't won anything.**
I'm hearing Americans celebrating that a black man is going to be president. I guess if I were an American and had an American worldview it would be cause to celebrate, but instead it makes me sick that this election is distilled all the way down to gender and race. That does not speak to me of the greatness of America but the deep flaws that remain. The fact that when I went to St. Louis I rarely saw a black person working in a department store and rarely saw a white person working in a fast food restaraunt. The fact that Americans talk more about tolerance than Canadians do and manage to simultaneously be much, much less tolerant - even though I despise that word and all it stands for, partly because it stands for something that I've never seen achieved in a way that I can respect.
So here I sit, disgusted with the American Way and realizing that the truth of the matter is simple. I live in North America, but I'm not an American. I don't have American values. I'm a Canadian. I don't really believe in the American dream.***
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Martin Luther King Jr. might be proud of what happened today, that the people spoke for a man who once would have been considered less than human to be a figurehead - but his dream hasn't come true. I haven't heard a whole lot about Barack Obama's character this election, but I sure heard a lot about the color of his skin.
[EDIT #1: McCain's speeches are no better for rhetoric, but ya'll seem to think Obama's speeches are better and he won, so I didn't bother commenting on the competition. It was in fact McCain's speech that took me to the final straw on the race thing, I never officially saw Obama's speech last night though I saw transcripts. I don't like American political speeches, federal ones anyway, because it's all greatness of America this and greatest country in the world that and pride and glory and who knows what not all. It's annoying to say the least.]
[EDIT #2: Note that I did not imply that he won because he was black, and I do not think so. Neither do I think Palin had anything to do with McCain's loss. It was the content about race and gender in the media and blogosphere that bothered me, both as an indicator and director of public opinion.]
[EDIT #3: That sounds harsh, but it's all true, one statement at a time. I don't really see the American dream as a very good or pleasing thing and I believe it's damaging. Partially this is because of my inbred prairie socialism. Partly it's just having grown up around the values of Americans and not feeling any kinship to them.]