Barack Obama victory: “The most diverse [and powerful] nation on Earth”

by , under Enrique

President Barack Obama’s election victory is the best news embattled United States could hope for. The U.S. president’s leadership on many fronts in the past should be a source of inspiration for European politicians who are being put under the gun by ever-growing populist mainstream intolerance and racism.

Obama has shown leadership on many occasions. He opposed the U.S led invasion of Iraq at a time when it was considered political suicide to be against President George W. Bush’s right to wage preemptive war on anyone Washington pleased. His support for gay marriage is another political milestone of his administration.

While these and many other difficult policy calls are risky, the job of an exemplary politician is to offer leadership and do what is right. Sometimes we need tap our gut instincts to make hard calls. Time will eventually reveal whether those political decision were right or wrong.

One of the many powerful messages in Obama’s victory speech was praising the United States as the most diverse nation on Earth. He said: “As long as we have the courage, to keep reaching, to keep working, keep fighting. Everyone can make it in America. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, able, disabled, gay, straight. You can make it here in America if you are willing to try.”

Too many politicians in Europe and Finland still patronize with populism and racism. Instead of fueling inclusion, they promote social exclusion of certain groups with their silence and  views. This is a ruinous path that we must challenge with leadership.

Obama’s message, that the United States is the most diverse and  powerful nation on Earth, should inspire us to do much more in Europe and Finland to promote diversity.

If we fail in the task and allow our fear and myths to devour our courage, it’s pretty clear that we’ll be the biggest losers.

 

 

  1. Toiset Soundit

    Good one for Obama.

    But no, do not agree with what subsequently writes Enrique. I think Europe should not take lessons from the US of A. Not on diversity, not on social justice.

    Europe should take a good and hard look in the rear-viewer and restore its social welfare states back to the good functioning level that it had attained towards the end of the seventies. Since then the capitalist attack on the social welfare state has started and led us to the mess we are in today thanks to gansters like Mrs Thatcher and her fellow travellers.

    We should stop focussing on diversity as a conditio sine que non. Diversity is not a quality in its own right, it is not something to be attained at all prices.

    Moreover: we are diverse, diversity exists, we got the message.
    But we are still divided into poor and rich. And when diversity becomes a distinct ideology which is manifestly used to obscure the real divisions in society, i.e. poverty and social exclusion, then: no thanks. Erst das Fressen un dann die Moral bitte!

    So do not give me that bullshit about how Europe and/ or Finland should look up to America’s leaders (I mean North-American, because I’m not referring to Chavez, Morales and other fighters for more social equality. Obama states: “As long as we have the courage, to keep reaching, to keep working, keep fighting. Everyone can make it in America. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, able, disabled, gay, straight. You can make it here in America if you are willing to try.”

    Well, he is lying and he knows it. The American dream is over and it is camouflaged by rhetoric.

    The US of A is racially, culturally, socially, economically and politically more divided than Europe. It’s becoming more and more of a wasteland.

    How can one seriously want to take a country as an example where education is not free (in Finland it is), where quality health care is too expensive for the majority (not the case in Finland), a country which wages wars and lets others pay for it (Finland for example, sending “peacekeeping” troops to Afghanistan), a country where the idea of minimum wages is almost unheard of, a country where racism is still blatantly in your face present in the form of economic discrimination of blacks, hispanics, a country which still executes people on a large scale, a country where in some states sodomy is a criminal offense, where gay marriage is still a taboo, …

    If speeches and bla bla about diversity start to overshadow the real injustice, i.e. social inequality, then something is really wrong.

    Diversity is a fact. It frightens a lot of people still, but that will eventually pass, unless … unless of course social inequality becomes so important that people start to look for scapegots, and then of course visible minorities are the suckers.

    Again: diversity, all good, Obama, nice guy, but let’s not look away from the real problem: social injustice.

    Reading tip in this respect: “The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality” by Walter Benn Micheals

    • JusticeDemon

      Diversity is not an ideology. It’s simply a fact. Societies have to ask how they can apply their diversity and gain from it, instead of wasting effort trying to eliminate, conceal or deny it.

    • Mark

      I agree with the general idea behind your comment TS, but you do tend to lurch towards absolutes. The USA and Finland are on opposite ends of the scale when it comes to social mobility.

      Inequality is certainly a key issue, but what you need to leave the door open to is a nuanced analysis that properly shows the intersections between race, sex, education, social status, health and opportunity. In other words, you need to broaden your idea of poverty as something that goes beyond merely monetary issues and also to recognise that the barriers to development in some sections of society are more than just a lack of financial incentives or state support.

      There is no getting away from the fact that it’s a complex picture.

    • eyeopener

      Hi TS.

      Read Richard Florida’s work on the values of diversity.

      I know Benn’s article and I disagree fully wiht him. He portaits society as an unchanging platform and identity as “something-that-you-have”

      Pretence is here that culture is something that can’t be changed. B………T!! Your mind moves as “frozen water”. Cool by all means. But doesn’t bring anything positive.

      Probably you didn’t want to contribute positively. Your comments look like the “mule-vision”. Bebebebebebebe!!

  2. Farang

    There is one false assumption in your post, Enrique. You try to give impression that USA is powerful BECAUSE of diversity and that’s why diversity should be promoted.

    That is just not true. USA is not powerful BECAUSE of diversity. It can be powerful and it can be diverse, but those two attributes have no correlation.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –That is just not true. USA is not powerful BECAUSE of diversity. It can be powerful and it can be diverse, but those two attributes have no correlation.

      Farang, your logic makes no sense. Moreover, it wasn’t me who said it, it was President Barack Obama. I agree totally with his view.

  3. Farang

    –That is just not true. USA is not powerful BECAUSE of diversity. It can be powerful and it can be diverse, but those two attributes have no correlation.Farang, your logic makes no sense. Moreover, it wasn’t me who said it, it was President Barack Obama. I agree totally with his view.

    No, he didn’t say it. He said USA is diverse. He said USA is powerful. But he didn’t say that USA is powerful because of diversity.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      –No, he didn’t say it. He said USA is diverse. He said USA is powerful. But he didn’t say that USA is powerful because of diversity.

      The U.S. is powerful because it is the most diverse nation in the world. Look at what he said. Diversity is power. If you look at U.S. history, it is all about diversity and immigration. Some groups like the whites have run the show but that is being challenged by different minorities. If you look at the message of Suomen Sisu and politicians like Jussi Halla-aho, it is the total opposite of what Obama said.

      Their thinking is very much in line with Nazi Germany’s view of ethnicity. See Alfred Rosenberg’s “The myth of the twentieth century.”

    • eyeopener

      Hi Farang.

      Here again.

      Start reading some literature about the value of diversity. Let’s dialogue then.

      Now you are only “bullshiting”. But that yiou already knew. Stupidly, you didnot look in your own mirror, did you??

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Folks, here is an interesting story from Greece, where xenophobia and far-right violence (Golden Dawn party) have been on the rampage. Greece plans to establish an anti-racism police task force.

      Anti-racism police unit heralded

      Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias on Monday heralded the creation of a new unit within the Greek police force that would focus on tackling racist violence following a spike in attacks on immigrants by members and supporters of far-right groups.

      establish“>Read whole story.

  4. Sasu

    Tessieri

    Obama saattaa sanoa, että moninaisuus on tehnyt amerikasta vahvan mutta hänkin varmasti tietää, että moninaisuus ei itsetsään ole yhtään mitään. Jotta moninaisuus voisi tuoda jotain hyvää, tarvitaan yhteiskuntarauhaa.

    USA nousi koska sillä oli hyvä koulutus-systeemi ja paljon työvoimaa. Syy ei ollu amerikan moninaisuus. Amerikan moninaisuus on juuri ollut asia joka on tuottanut jatkuvasti ongelmia. Sinun ei kanntaisi yksinkertaistaa asioita vaikka silloin saakin hienon tarinan maahanmuuttajien “luvatusta maasta”.

    • Enrique Tessieri

      Sasu,since when were ethnic groups not diverse? Like culture, we are constantly evolving, nothing stays the same. Some countries like Finland haven’t evoloved in such a diverse way as others like in the United States.

      Cultural diversity in the United States took giant leaps from the 1960s, when the country allowed non-whites to immigrate immigrating to the country. See the Immigration Acts of 1907 and 1924 and compare them with the one in 1965, which established a quota system that didn’t hinge on national origin as before.

      If cultural diversity has brought, as you state, continuous problems to the United States, the country has taken steps in correcting these matters. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1955-68 is a clear example. There is, of course, a lot of work to be done. But this is natural since no society, be it more or less diverse, isn’t perfect.

      In the same light, I could claim that colonialism and social constructs like “monoculturalism” and “racial purity” have brought mass destruction not only on Europe but the world.

      Look at countries like Finland and Japan, which discourage cultural diversity. Both are on the decline demographically. Immigration and diversity are some cures for our demographic challenges. Our prosperity as a nation hinges on how well accept and take this fact on board.

    • eyeopener

      Finland has a unified culture?? Are you guys crazy??

      I have travelled, visited and worked all around Finalnd. Found a lot of diversity among Finnish people about their identity.

      Is there a Finnish Culture?? Or do people want it to be!!

      Therefore, I challenge all people who think of “one national identity” as a mark to distinguish themselves from others to spell out “Finnish Identity”. Second; I challenge all people who think that Finnish Identity will make Finland survive as a country to “picture the future. Third; I challenge all people how Finland is going to survive a an independent nation over 30 years from now.

      Let’s have a look at Finland 2030!! With and without diversity (internally and externally)

      Who’s up for the challenge?? Come on guys. You have so many ideas!!

  5. Sasu

    Sasu,since when were ethnic groups not diverse? Like culture, we are constantly evolving, nothing stays the same. Some countries like Finland haven’t evoloved in such a diverse way as others like in the United States.

    Cultural diversity in the United States took giant leaps from the 1960s, when the country allowed non-whites to immigrate immigrating to the country. See the Immigration Acts of 1907 and 1924 and compare them with the one in 1965, which established a quota system that didn’t hinge on national origin as before.

    If cultural diversity has brought, as you state, continuous problems to the United States, the country has taken steps in correcting these matters. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1955-68 is a clear example. There is, of course, a lot of work to be done. But this is natural since no society, be it more or less diverse, isn’t perfect.

    In the same light, I could claim that colonialism and social constructs like “monoculturalism” and “racial purity” have brought mass destruction not only on Europe but the world.

    Look at countries like Finland and Japan, which discourage cultural diversity. Both are on the decline demographically. Immigration and diversity are some cures for our demographic challenges. Our prosperity as a nation hinges on how well accept and take this fact on board.

    Amerikassa on kieltämättä tehty paljon asioita jotta monikulttuurisuus olisi toimiva, mutta sellainen toiminta on hyvin uutta amerikan pitkässä historiassa. Voisimme sanoa että monikulttuurisuus on suora tulos kansalaisoikeusliikkeen voitosta. Sitä ennen amerikkalaiset katsoivat olevansa vain yhtä kansaa ja kulttuuria. Todellisuus ja se mitä uskotaan eivät aina yhdy valitettavasti.

    Yritin sanoa että kansakunnan nousu ei ole kiini pelkästään monikulttuurisuudesta vaan muista tekiöistä myös. Sinä yritit korostaa vain yhtä tekiää ylitse muiden. Kulttuurit muuttuvat mutta se myönnetäänkö sitä on asiana eri. Amerikka on muuttunut kokoajan historian aikana mutta vasta 1960 luvulla amerikkalaiset myönsivät sen kunnolla.

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