"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
October 22, 2008

Johnson Endorses Obama

Barack Obama: Why I believe he should be the next President Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (mouthing that is not getting any easier) has come out with an endorsement of Obama. This is the latest in a string of endorsements from pro-business, reflexively conservative, political leaders. Johnson has marked very high stakes in his commentary, […]

Barack Obama: Why I believe he should be the next President

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson (mouthing that is not getting any easier) has come out with an endorsement of Obama. This is the latest in a string of endorsements from pro-business, reflexively conservative, political leaders. Johnson has marked very high stakes in his commentary, noting how both the ideals of democracy and the benefits of capitalism have been imperilled in recent years and by recent policies. Johnson’s case rests primarly on merits, not ideology or allusion.

That said, Johnson’s final point about what an Obama presidency might mean in terms of symbolism merits attention (as it did in Powell’s and Fraser’s endorsements).

“And then there is the final, additional reason, the glaring reason, and that is race. Huge numbers of voters, whether they admit it to themselves or not, will hesitate to choose Barack Obama for President because he is black. And then there are millions of white Americans who will undoubtedly vote Obama precisely because he is black, and because he stands for the change and the progress they want to see in their society.

After centuries of friction, prejudice, tension, hatred – you name it, they’ve had it – America is teetering on the brink of a triumph. If Obama wins, then the United States will have at last come a huge and maybe decisive step closer to achieving the dream of Martin Luther King, of a land where people are judged not on the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

If Obama wins, then black people the world over will be able to see how a gifted man has been able to smash through the ultimate glass ceiling.

If Obama wins, then it will be simply fatuous to claim that there are no black role models in politics or government, because there is no higher role model than the President of the United States.

If Barack Hussein Obama is successful next month, then we could even see the beginning of the end of race-based politics, with all the grievance-culture and special interest groups and political correctness that come with it.

If Obama wins, he will have established that being black is as relevant to your ability to do a hard job as being left-handed or ginger-haired, and he will have re-established America’s claim to be the last, best hope of Earth.”

This might not, in an of itself, be a compelling reason to endorse Obama (it is an an additional, not foundational reason for Johnson). But, it does present an enormous potential for all of us in an Obama presidency and something that, in and of itself, may merit celebration where he to win next month.

BTW, for those of you who have not, as Boris puts it, “…trolled the wilds of the Neocon internet” the comments section below the endorsement offers a brief summary of what that kinds of alternate universe of ideological spin looks and smells like.

Responses
Toni 14 years ago

I’d never have considered Boris Johnson a figure of international influence, but he does have a reputation as a clever politician even though he gives the appearance of a buffoon.

I did read through some of the comments after the article. One stood out:

“Like it or not, not all Muslims are terrorists, but just about all terrorists are Muslims.”

I have lasting memories of terrorists not so very far away that were partially funded by Americans. It seems that my memory doesn’t even have to stretch that far to do so. Long may the peace in Ireland last.

John Smulo 14 years ago

I find what Johnson said very significant. Sometimes I wonder if as Americans we’re reflective enough to consider the kind of thing said here. Obama has yet to stand out to me above the political pack, but the symbolic justifications for voting for him are overwhelming.

Fernando Gros 14 years ago

Toni, the history you allude to is always the second story that comes to mind when I hear “righteous indignation” from the far right of American politics about terrorism. Of course, the first story is always South America, Operation Condor and the support of repressive military regimes.

Oh and Johnson is fast becoming the wise fool of UK politics.

Fernando Gros 14 years ago

John, I have quite a few American friends who I would class as very self-reflexive about the national identity. The one thing they have in common, however, is the experience of living outside the US and a critical distance from the dominant mythology of contemporary politics.

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