October 24, 2008

Kristoff: Rebranding the U.S. With Obama

The NY Times endorsed Obama today ... I know ... surprise, surprise. But Nicholas Kristoff's column today is definitely worth a read. In it, he recalls a conversation with a Chinese friend of his who is incredulous that American whites might elect a black president.

"What do white people think about that, about getting a black president? Are they upset? Are they angry?" his friend says, adding that she thought all American blacks were either janitors or laborers.

Kristof concludes that, with an Obama presdency, "we may find a path to restore America's global influence."

Michael was telling me about a Newsweek article he read that showed evidence that Iran was balking at an expected Obama presidency, believing that it will strengthen US/European relations and therefore present a more united front against Iran. Interesting.

If Obama is elected, it will truly be an historic moment, and one worth savoring. However, we can't bask in it too long as a people for two reasons: 1. Electing a black president does NOT mean an end to racism, especially institutional racism, in America, unfortunately, and there is still much work to be done on that front. 2. We also have a lot of work to do restoring our good standing in the world, and it's not going to be as easy as just electing Obama president.