Friday, April 18, 2008

Letter to Kimberley Strassel

I found this article about Barack Obama to be most interesting. Never one to shy away from expressing my thoughts - :-) - I sent the columnist this letter:

Dear Ms. Strassel,
I confess to never having read your work before. But every week I read Peggy Noonan's editorial and happened upon your latest.
Just so you know, I live in Vancouver, BC, on Canada's Left Coast. While I'm a proud Canadian, it's very clear that my views don't mesh well with the majority opinion here. C'est la vie. I've never been one to want to be part of the general flock anyway! I read and listen to news & opinion from around the world, most especially the US and the UK. Because of this, perhaps I have a somewhat different, perhaps "bigger picture" perspective than some. One of my modern day heroes is Mark Steyn, a Canadian living in New Hampshire. His writings often hit strong chords with me.
Living where I do, and given the relative unimportance of Canada on the world stage, much of my attention is focused on watching the culture in both the US and the UK. While most every American city has some periodic problems with racial tension, I would strongly suggest to you that the problem is much worse in Britain. Over there, it seems very clear that the official multicultural policies have directly resulted in promoting minorities to think of their own racial and cultural heritage first & foremost and being "British" a distant third in importance. This has resulted in many minorities viewing themselves as victims who can only seek redress from the benevolent government. While this works wonders in the short term for the Labour government in power, it can only lead to troubled times in the future.

The US has long been known for its melting pot approach to cultural diversity. One may indeed be racially Asian or African or Indian but first & foremost you are an American; and if not you, then your children. Some have condemned this method of integration but I'm convinced it's the only way to ensure a nation's cohesion. For with it there's no longer "us and them" but just "us", albeit in a beautiful number of different skin shades and facial features. In your nation, different is good, different is beautiful, but all living proudly under one American flag is glorious!
Which brings us to Barack Obama. In your article I agreed with everything you wrote but there's one "elephant in the room" issue that you did not line up precisely in the crosshairs. Up until about mid-February he was soaring in the polls and generally making Americans (of all colors) feel great that in 2008 a black man had just as much chance of becoming president as anyone else. He was proud, he was strong, and he was confident - clearly all the signs of a winner. Americans like winners, especially those who have come from humble roots. To the average person, one thing Obama was not was an "us and them" kind of leader like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. This, I believe, was the key to his popularity.

But then something happened. We started hearing some rather odd remarks from his wife, Michelle, and from his pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright. They were both preaching from the song book of victimhood. Victims do not exude confidence. Victimhood does not correlate well with winners. For the past 2 months a shake-out of sorts occurred, where people tried to juxtapose the image they previously had of Barack Obama with this new image of Permanent Victim Syndrome laden folks all around him.
The elitist gaffs are a new twist but not necessarily death blows to his campaign. For even in America, leaders always have at least a tinge of elitism. Much worse are his recent complaints that certain questions posed to him are "unfair". That only reinforces the victim issues that are now planted in the back of the minds of voters. While he may beat Hillary Clinton because of the mathematical advantage he enjoys, if that victim "seed" continues to grow, he will get absolutely wiped out by John McCain in November. The majority of Americans will not vote for a victim. Nor should they.

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