Shouting and celebration was met by a quiet rumbling of a dream of a junior king some time ago. I consider myself guilty of putting more attention of the politics of a country other than my own, but, frankly, who can blame me? That democratic race was a ride, full of gaffes and inspirational moments that made it unforgettable. All of those dirty moves and emotional speeches entertained me greatly for the last two years, always making me think about what will happen to the world with the next leader of that hate-it-or-love-it country. And, of course, I am going to be able to say that I was alive when the first black president of the USA was democratically elected.
However, I'm feeling somewhat disturbed. An stereotype, even if it has an apparent positive side to it, is still a generalisation, which takes offence and that must be straightened. Some news organisations and many US citizens are feeling pride of having elected a black man to office; and it bothers me because it is implying a racial stereotype that I thought was already overcome. Obama seems to be a good man, and if he is, that is the reason to celebrate, but to be joyful because he is black has a weight of prejudice that I see very similar as wanting a black man in your basketball team. I understand the historic implications of having elected a a black president, and it is truly a landmark event, but to present that as evidence of moral evolution and stating it as a reason to "believe in the USA again", is the same as being proud of not going to jail. Let me remind you that in that same election, Proposition 8 (a California state amendment banning gay marriage) was passed.
Was Nelson Mandela celebrated this way when he was elected president of South Africa? Would people feel the same pride when electing a white man to that office (he would be the first)? A Korean right now is the Secretary General of the UN (a highly important position in world politics), an African, a Chinese and many others of different ethnicities have been elected to that same office, where was their celebration? There wasn't, because there shouldn't be. Obama himself stated that race is only the core of oneself, not our identity. Obama's performance as a president will be irrelevant of his skin colour, so being proud of having a black president concedes itself as plain ignorance and prejudice.
For the record, I'm happy that Obama was elected, out of the two he seemed more humane, honest, and I really like his speeches, but, like with any other politician, I'm not keeping my hopes up. Frankly, none of the persons that were considered during the race seemed adequate. That bottleneck of a system that breaks people and gives out candy for following orders is still in place. Even though Obama frequently distanced himself from McCain, their policies on the fundamental issues of democracy and wealth are not that different (they both voted for the bailout plan). USA is still shouting itself as the beacon of democracy when in reality it's anything but... the citizen didn't get to rule on the war in Iraq (even with all the protests), or the bank bailout plan, or the healthcare system, which have far greater importance than the propositions they actually get to vote on. The only time they get to decide on an important national issue is for the presidency, the race for which spends millions of dollars of endorsements by corporations that are planning to cash their check later, and the options for which are just different flavours of the same thing. I'm sorry, but this is no different than before, other than the fact that the person elected is black; to shout "Look at us! We got the black guy on top, aren't we civilised?" is like a crack addict claiming progress because he only does coke now.
A truly democratic country would have the people running the country. It'd skip all the smokes and mirrors that this pseudo-democratic system has put in place, and make every citizen a politician. Debating each other, reading upon the issues, and getting acquainted with the world outside of their house, the population itself would strive to reach a true country-wide consensus. However, a person today is too busy to read, too tired to debate, and too docile to contradict the status quo. I won't get into why this is so, but I will say it is not entirely the person's fault.
And for all of you that are thinking "We just voted a black man for office, how is that not contradicting the status quo?", remember that you still went into the same ice cream store you have gone into for the last hundred years, the only difference is that you asked for chocolate instead of vanilla.