Obama’s Multicultural Moment, and Ours?
By Steven M. Warshawsky
There is a Barack Obama video presently circulating on the internet in which a group of celebrities, mostly black and Hispanic, proclaim the great and wonderful changes — a cleaner world, a more peaceful world, a brighter future for all — that will be ushered in by the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. All performed over an inspirational soundtrack, with the hypnotic chant of “O-bam-a, O-bam-a, O-bam-a, O-bam-a . . . .” in the background. (HT: View From The Right.)
Two important messages come through in this video, which the American people should consider very seriously as they decide for which candidate to cast their votes this November. (Barring a stunning Hillary Clinton victory this coming Tuesday, I fully expect that Obama will be the Democratic Party nominee.)
One, the Obama campaign truly has taken on a cult-like quality. His starry-eyed supporters actually believe that simply electing Barack Obama as president will solve, not just this country’s, but the world’s most difficult problems – problems that have been with us since the dawn of history: human conflict, economic scarcity, pollution, fear, and so on. Obama may believe this fantasy himself. Witness his messianic campaign slogan, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” which is repeated several times near the end of the video.
Anyone who spends a few minutes thinking about this, knows that a President Obama never will be able to deliver on this dream of “change” and “hope.” And not just because his actual policy prescriptions reflect standard liberal tax-and-spend collectivism. Under any set of policies, the problems facing this country, let alone the world, are not going to go away anytime soon. They are part of the human condition. At best, they can be managed and ameliorated.
Yet how will Obama and his supporters react when they realize that his achievements as president, whatever they may be, will never match his — or their — aspirations? Will they react in a mature manner, or will they lash out in anger against those whom they perceive as standing in the way of “progress”? Will they make a good faith effort to work with independents and conservatives, or will they vilify their political opponents (including with charges of “racism”) and try to exclude them from meaningful political participation? Frustrated idealists are not known for their calmness, rationality, and willingness to compromise. If Republicans decide not to go along with Obama’s agenda, the domestic political situation could get very ugly.
Which brings me to the next main point to take away from the video. Although many commentators have remarked on the increasingly cult-like quality of Obama’s presidential campaign, few have observed — at least not openly — that an Obama presidency would represent the triumph of multiculturalism in this country. As one of the celebrities in the video explains, an Obama presidency promises to “chang[e] America’s face to the world.”
What does this mean? It means that the United States no longer will be seen as a “white” country. Whether true or not, this is what people mean when they speak of Obama’s campaign as ushering in a “post-racial” America. After all, there are few-to-no such things as a “post-racial” person. Obama has a race (he is considered black, despite having both black and white parents). So does John McCain.
Hence, a “post-racial” America means an America in which the white European population — which, until the post-1960s immigration boom, represented the overwhelming majority of Americans — is no longer the dominant demographic and cultural group. It is as simple as that. More than anything else, this is the “change” that Obama’s supporters yearn for. The video makes this clear.
The question is whether the American people are prepared to make this leap, from a country with a predominantly white European population that promises tolerance and civil rights to all citizens, regardless of race, color, or creed, to a country in which multiculturalism is not just a faddish academic ideology, but a demographic and political reality. The Obama campaign, with its theme of personal and societal transformation, presents this question as never before to the American people. The answer, which we will know something more about in November, will have profound consequences for the future of the country.