Friday, June 6, 2008

There's nothing specifically presidential about growing up in another country

There's been a factor of Barack Obama's spectacle that stands out as hype even more than everything else, and that is the supposed uniqueness of his multi-continental upbringing and familial background. It was especially characterized to illustrate that he had somehow been delivered by God by Chris Matthews in January:

MATTHEWS: You know I think there's even something grander going on here and I can never say that, of course, about America where race has always been our San Andreas fault. The thing that does, always threaten to divide us, in fact, too often does. But there's something about Obama, where he comes from. He's almost delivered to us through Indonesia, through a Kenyan father. He's a man of the world. A Third World, in many way, person, not just an American. It's all a big picture here. You know I'll bet there's not a Peace Corps volunteer in the country who served in the Peace Corps in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s or recently that won't vote for this guy. He is so emblematic of our attempt, I think, to rejoin the world.

Tom DeLay, the infamous "Hammer" of Congress who is facing money laundering charges, grew up partially in Venezuela, where his father was working in the natural gas industry. John McCain was born in a military base in Panama. To hear people like Matthews talk, you would think that America was an ethnically homogenous nation like the majority of the world, when in fact we are quite the opposite.
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