Obama’s all around

There are a couple of things concerning the U.S.-election that keep coming up and that I cannot help commenting on. But first let me say that I’m very happy Obama made it into the White House. Let’s hope he’ll be able to achieve what he so aptly termed the most pressing global necessity: Change.

However, I have to say I’m sort of, uhm, surprised to see my whole country going completely over the top because an election they didn’t even take part in took what everybody here felt to be the “right” turn. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have wanted a president McCain; I just wished people would get as excited about German politics – we need political people here, too!!! – and I do not appreciate the judgmental element that’s included in the joy over Obama’s victory. How come some people think they know what’s right for a country most of them only know from holidays, if at all? I find that pretty presumptuous. What would have happened if McCain had been elected? Would we have dismissed the whole country as wrong, stupid and basically unreliable? 

Also, I have heard a couple of times now that Obama “certainly isn’t the president of choice for the Israeli government”. Well, I’m not so sure. “The” Israeli government is far less homogenous as the media would have us believe, and there are many, many people both in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories who think Obama will bring good to the whole region. Is it so hard to write a little less black-and-white? Go get a book about peace journalism, you’ll see what I mean.

And since I’m already talking about the media, let me add this: I can see that the race issue is a very rewarding topic. And of course it is a historic event (and was long overdue) that an African-American was elected into the highest office. However, I wish there were more awareness of the inherent racism in descriptions like “he’s very eloquent, good-looking and well-read” when they are used to describe a person of African-American descent. Don’t you see how patronizing this is, and how much it draws on the language of racists who’d talk like this about “good” black people – as opposed to the “bad” majority? Just a tiny bit of reading on racism would have told you that.


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