Well I Was Gonna Blog About Other Shit But

Credit: The New York TimesThe great and terrible thing about living in our day and age is the way we get to see the reaction to history changing world events in real time. It feels strange to hype the colorful trendiness of things like Facebook and Twitter, but their function and popularity really makes it an interesting time to experience news. As opposed to the times when newspapers would assess the general reaction to a major event the next morning, I get to click on trending topics and see not only the obvious across-the-board mood, but also the rare minority opinion and/or craziness of the individual that would not be noticed in an older age.

Case in point: I've been thinking on the killing of Osama Bin Laden, announced only 6 hours ago, and the reaction that it has been getting; in the media, in the crowds, on twitter and among my friends. Having ruminated on it for not-long-enough, here is what I've gleaned about the world.

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Essay | Let Us Not Pat Our Backs So Hard

Previously, on the greatest spectator sport in the world: Barack Obama, as we have all expected for at least a month, has become the presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States. When it finally, finally, finally became official, the media could finally let loose all the stories about it being a historic first and world changing event that they've been holding in. Tim Russert exclaimed that he'd like to be a teacher in an inner-city school on that day. People were marveling at being part of history, about the possibility of electing the first black leader in a predominantly white country. Not just a first for the US, but for the entire western world.

That's great. It really is. But it strikes me that the rhetoric going around is starting to get awfully self-congratulatory. People, like Frank Schaeffer at the Huffington Post, are saying things such as, "All over the world our country ... looks immeasurably better because we have grown up enough to embrace a black candidate, our fraught and sordid racial history notwithstanding."

Worse yet, angry lawn protectors like Pat Buchanan have proclaimed that black people should be grateful because all that slavery & oppression has ultimately led to the most prominent black people in the world, as opposed to all that violence going on in the homeland (And white colonialism had nothing to do with that no siree)

There is a general air of, "Damn we're really progressive and great" that is going to be dangerous in the long run to even more progress. Look at the arguments today. When people try and argue that racism is not a problem in America, they point to ridiculous trivia like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. While good signs, they are nothing more than that. Signs of getting better, not evidence that we are cured. They are exceptions and not the rule. Mouthpieces like Buchanan are effectively telling people, "You're not a slave anymore so what is left to complain about?"

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