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America February 6, 2008
 
The Triumph of Hope Over Experience: Hillary vs. Obama
By Mark Ames Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 3
 

If there was anything truly sinister about last night's debate, it was the spectacle of a nation patting itself on the back for allegedly overcoming its racism and its sexism. The ultimate sentimental fantasy in a post-U2 world come true: "Isn't it incredible that we have a black man and a woman facing off against each other? We've come so far! We're such a great generation!" It's the Hollywood moment for America, and they won't shuttup about it as they wipe their inspired eyes and pat themselves on their backs for the progress they've made.

Problem is, the very opposite is true: America is still viciously racist and as sexist as it can get away with, and that is why ultimately, as the boredom wore off and the deeper significance set in, last night's debate was such a disturbing experience. Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton represent the very opposite of black or womanhood achievement; they are the two most perfectly coapted specimens of their kind imaginable, almost as if they were concocted in some evil Monsanto lab, completely stripped of their color and gender, blanded down to the familiar safe beige of ruling-class America. If you listened to Barak speak without looking at him; if you read Hillary's text without hearing her; you wouldn't know a color or a gender was there. It wouldn't even enter your head. This blending of color and gender and culture doesn't lead to a happy neutral, but rather, to the triumph of one.

Samuel Johnson once wrote that a second marriage is "the triumph of hope over experience." But the irony of his maxim rests on the assumption that anything was ever experienced in the first failed marriage. This election isn't at all about hope versus experience. It's about a nation of hope junkies desperately trying to outrun the terrible and terrifying experiences in their rear view mirror, growing and gaining on them every day.

This article first appeared on Alternet.org last Friday.


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Ames
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Email Mark Ames at editor@exile.ru.
 
 
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