Dear America


have been some great newspaper cartoons that vividly illustrate the
challenge facing your new President-elect Obama. The best one has
been a simple picture of Barack and his shadow. He is human-sized;
his shadow Paul Bunyan-like with the word ‘expectations emblazoned
on it.

that’s the rub, Mr. Obama will never live up to his promises, his
platform or his expectations. And with the possible exception of the
day he is inaugurated, he will never have a higher approval rating
than he did Wednesday morning.


no amount of charisma, no amount of talk of inclusiveness and change,
no amount of hope, faith or good intentions will remove the harsh
reality that your nation is in real trouble and real decline.

not to take anything away from his victory, and it’s certainly not
taking away the historic change his election represents to your
nation. A nation, as you know, that has struggled for much of its two
hundred years with horrible racism.

an aside, isn’t it ironic that with the election of your first
black President and the breakthrough it represents, you have three
states, Arizona, California and Florida, who, through propositions,
continue to discriminate against their gay citizens by denying them
the simple human right and dignity to marry)

despite its touchstone philosophy of change, will do nothing to stop
your decline. Your century – The Century of America with its heyday
in the post-WWII period – is behind you. And how could it be
otherwise when it was but a house of cards built and maintained on a
mountain of debt.

are no longer in the place you used to be and you cannot continue to
play the role you did. You are a nation that desperately wants to
keep its place; worse, you wish to go backwards to what once was. But
truth is you can never go back. You cannot continue to live the way
you have; you need to prepare your psyche for the reality you are no
longer a ‘superpower’ and will have to do things differently.

will, in fact, have to do the one thing that challenges every
American: putting yourself into someone else’s shoes
and understanding their (and their nation’s) point of view rather
than jamming your own point of view down our throats as if it is
only point of view that matters.

President-elect, I think, gets this and is preparing you for this
first crucial, and difficult, step.

I wish him, and you all, the best
of luck.

your Canadian neighbour,


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4 Responses to Dear America

  1. CurryPuffy says:

    It’s true that America has to share the world stage with other nations nowadays. Mr.Obama has provided a glimmer of hope to ten of thousands of under-privileged and minorities, that there’s a future if they worked hard to achieve that goal in life. Is that what we call the American Dream?

  2. ElusiveWords says:

    I think America’s torch is shining a little bit brighter now. It’ll take a lot of hard work, re-education, tears, pain and determination before America can get back to be one of the world leaders. The world stage is a lot smaller now. It’s not going to be easy for her to become a citizen of the world. I think Obama is the right president at the right time.

  3. christao408 says:

    I think you’re conflating a few different issues.  Yes, those who think that President-elect Obama is a superhero who will magically return us to the heady days of the early 90s will be in for some bitter disppointment.  The world has changed and it is no longer a one superpower town.
    But Obama’s message and his strength is much deeper than charisma, elocution or “change”.  His core platform messages – investment in education, infrastructure, alternate energy, and healthcare along with more government oversight of the investment industry – combined with his message of a more optimistic brand of politics, are very good prescriptions for the country.
    It isn’t about restoring America to some sort of supremacy.  It is about preparing American citizens for a robust and productive role in the new century and in a new and increasingly interconnected world.
    As for the proposition issue, Americans as a whole are pretty religious and conservative.  We will get to gay marriage eventually, no worries.  But I recall that when gay marriage was legalized in Canada – by judicial fiat at first, right? – there was a lot of ourcry from not just the middle part of your country, but many conservative groups back east, too.  Does Canada have the proposition system?  If not, that might have saved you from some battles that we have to face here.  Unfortunately, I don’t think the proposition in most states in the US is going away, as much as it is a scourge to politics.
    Anyhow, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the election.

  4. Fatcat723 says:

    Well written and I have to agree with you. I ma not sure that even superman can help unless our entire population accepts reality!

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