Random Thoughts on
Love and Fear
(and anything in between)

October 13, 2009

A Fight Against The Blood And Hatred In The Air

Perusing DailyKos this morning, I was directed to an extremely misguided column by Richard Cohen regarding the recent award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama. In a nutshell, we Americans ought to be insulted by the attitude of those Europeans.

The European view that Obama is some sort of accidental president, that he does not truly represent the essence of America, is a bit disturbing as well as insulting. I think a bit of it is a greater fixation on Obama's race than you will find here and, concurrently, a misguided belief that Obama's race makes him less of an American in America than a white person would be. Europeans have always had a good time with American racism, finding it very comforting in its confirmation of our essential boorishness. In this sense, the Nobel was meant to encourage us in our new, admirable path -- keep it up, Yanks. Thanks, Olaf.
What. A. Load. Of. Cr@p. I added a comment to the Kos "pundit wrap-up" which contained that gem, basically noting the following:

Mr. Cohen has it exactly backwards. It's not the Europeans who think "that he does not truly represent the essence of America". That's a stock argument of tea-baggers and town-hall shouters, and has been continually pushed by right-wing radio ranters and "respected" columnists, even before the election. Anyone remember Kathleen Parker's infamous "blood equity" column?
Full-bloodedness is an old coin that’s gaining currency in the new American realm. Meaning: Politics may no longer be so much about race and gender as about heritage, core values, and made-in-America. Just as we once and still have a cultural divide in this country, we now have a patriot divide.

Who “gets” America? And who doesn’t?

The answer has nothing to do with a flag lapel pin, which Obama donned for a campaign swing through West Virginia, or even military service, though that helps. It’s also not about flagpoles in front yards or magnetic ribbons stuck on tailgates.

It’s about blood equity, heritage and commitment to hard-won American values. And roots.

It was the anti-Obama side (aided and abetted by the Richard Cohens of the elite commentariat) which claimed that Obama "does not truly represent the essence of America". The American people resoundingly rejected that notion.

Having commented to this effect, I now realize that the latest Cohen column is so internally, self-evidentially full of backwards reasoning, that there was no need to point out its obvious flaws. After all, he also includes in it his new, after-the-fact "reasoning" concerning the President's earlier journey to boost Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.

In my estimation, the distance Obama put between himself and what came before him encouraged the International Olympic Committee not to see him as the president of the United States and thus, as with some supplicating mayor, to dismiss his entreaty. At that moment, he was the president of Chicago, commander in chief of Cook County and not the entire United States. A lesson learned, I hope.

So, to conclude, Mr. Cohen is insulted that the Europeans view Obama as somehow not fully American, even if it is Obama's fault for putting that idea into their heads.

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