The fairy tale of unlimited possibilities has not worked for large groups in the United States, and it will not work as long as nothing is done about the harrowing inequality.
An American girlfriend was visiting. She had flown over from San Francisco via Paris and had her nails manicured at the French airport. The manicured nails looked indeed very French. “Who are you going to vote for,” I asked.
“For whom do you think?”
“Why not for Hilary? What is the difference really between those two? We are very far away from you. Explain the difference.”
There was a silence. She looked at her nails.
“There is really not that much of a difference. The same Party. The same ideals, more or less. Liberals. The same troughs of money for campaigning. Hillary is an old hand at politics, Obama the newcomer and both want to save the world–but starting with the United States.”
We concluded that the two candidates are indeed well matched, so well-matched that it has become stifling—for Obama and Hillary, for the American people and for us in Europe. I had brought in rijsttafel [popular Indonesian food] and told her that in The Netherlands it’s quite OK to lick your fingers while eating this dish.
And then there is suddenly Rev. Wright who wakes us up from the dream that there is nothing to choose between Hillary and Obama with his spicy statement about American racism, God d*** America, and about AIDS that Bush himself is supposed to have injected into little black bodies.
I do believe the latter a little bit.
Maintaining a miserable underclass costs energy. Withholding affordable public health care provisions and denying good education to this underclass makes it fall even farther behind and creates a good basis for a fair number of nasty diseases. AIDS is transmittable, but poverty is contagious.
And I think that Rev. Wright scratches exactly where it itches. America must face up to the fact that the fairy tale of unlimited possibilities for large groups in society has not worked, and will not work as long as nothing is done about the harrowing inequality.
“But America exists because of the possibility for a person to fail. It is every man for himself. Risk takers are rewarded, cautious people are not. America is not like worn-out Europe,” says the girlfriend and takes another mouthful of rice.
Poverty and racism in your country–it is a matter of looking away. Obama was on the way to, in a formidable way, expose this injustice. Subtleness and cunningness appeared to have both come together with him. Now, Wright has put a wrench in the works. The father of his ideas draws his own plan. Obama’s plan wasn’t radical enough for him. Too bad for Obama. Should Obama come over here, then he would be the new president.