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Monday, March 03, 2008

Showing the World that America is Not Racist --and the Establishment Doesn't Always Win

Our Presidential election has people glued to the TV worldwide.
Arguments are being waged in Spanish and Chinese over whom the best
American candidate is. The attitude in the world that America is
racist and that the establishment always wins is being shattered by
this campaign.

Why? Because they can’t believe that someone who is not part of the
Establishment has a shot at becoming the American President. That
does not normally happen in the world. It didn’t happen in Russia’s
Sunday election, where Mr. Putin’s handpicked successor won, and got
all the advertising. In Pakistan, the autocrat Musharraf lost an
election to two potential successors, whose families have ruled
Pakistan before. The same faces keep showing up on ballots and running the power levers, like an endless loop.

So the world is amazed that this time in the U.S. an outsider has a
real chance of breaking the endless loop of the past two decades of the
Bush/Clinton/ Bush/Clinton lock on power –- which is making us look more like
Pakistan, Kenya and many third world countries where the same names keep running things. But not in this election, possibly.

A woman in India was quoted in one article I saw, which I paraphrase:
“In India, the establishment always wins. Hillary is regarded by us
not as a woman but as an establishment figure with a long history in
power (e.g., like the India Gandhi family). In Pakistan, her kind
always wins (Ms. Bhutto, her father and Mr. Sharif were all in power
previously). So people in the world are stunned to see a black man,
who would be at the bottom of the social ladder in many countries, who
has no Washington family like the Bush’s or entrenched power base like
the Clinton’s, running as strong as Mr. Obama has been.”

This is happening primarily on the Democratic side, since the
Republican candidates were all white men (no women or minorities were
among the eight or so original candidates). Therefore the democratic
race is getting the most global attention. The Democrats even
conducted a global election so that Americans in over 50 countries
world-wide were able to cast their vote (Obama won that one, too).

In other words the world is impressed by this election. They can see
that the American political system is still open enough to let a
reformer have a real shot at beating an establishment player who has
all the advantages prior power brings –- something which is very rare
in governments around the world.

It’s great to see that America is already beginning to improve its
standing in the world as a result of this unique election.

It proves that in America anyone can still do anything -- and the
little guy with nothing more than guts and brains still has a chance
to beat the status quo establishment, or even win a Presidency.

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