If we were to simply believe a common narrative in America today without raising questions, we would rapidly come to the conclusion that not only is modern America a racist country, it was actually founded on racism and slavery. The New York Times ran a series last year called The 1619 Project, commemorating the 400th anniversary of slavery in America. Slavery isn’t just an ugly part of our national history, they told us, it’s part of our current, collective DNA as a country. The Times began the project in an effort to understand the root cause of “the persistent racism and inequality that plague this country.” Feminist Gloria Steinem has referred to “our terrible, destructive racist past,” and failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (thank goodness we must use the word ‘failed’ when describing him) stated during his campaign that America “is still racist at its foundation.” While it’s clear that slavery played a significant role in the history and economy of early-America, it was also hotly debated at the time, with many of the Founding Fathers strongly opposed to it. And if our past is so destructive and racist, how does one explain the 360,220 Union soldiers – almost all of whom were white – who were killed while freeing the slaves during the Civil War? America’s past and present are complex, and while it’s non-debatable that racism still exists in our country, the level to which it exists is very debatable. A strong case can be made that racism in America has improved dramatically, and President Barack Obama is Exhibit A.
It’s common for the Left to trash our country while simultaneously extolling the virtues of others. With gun control, for instance, the Left tells us that Americans are trigger-happy, militant maniacs, while countries like New Zealand are sensible, as evidenced by their actions after the Christchurch massacre. For health care, the Scandinavian countries do it correctly with their socialized medicine, while ruthless American capitalists want to ensure people die here at home. We’re constantly hearing about how great things are elsewhere, to the point that many leftists have told us they’re going to move to Canada or Europe; which raises the question of why Alec Baldwin and Barbara Streisand are still here, but that’s a topic for another day. So, what about racism? If we’re so bad and they’re so great, those other countries must be models of inclusion and diversity, but a closer look shows that is not the case.
Based on the 2010 census, African-Americans make up approximately 12% of the U.S. population, with 73% being white, yet Barack Obama was elected president. Twice. So, how many other countries in the world have elected a racial minority to their highest office in the land, even once? As the theme music to Jeopardy plays in your head, good luck in coming up with an answer. Spend a few hours searching Wikipedia and surfing Google, and it’s likely you’ll only come up with two: South Africa and Peru. Ironically, one of those two, South Africa, was the epitome of a racist country. With their policy of apartheid in place until 1994, blacks were not allowed to vote, and as a result whites were elected to office while making up only 20% of their population. In the case of Peru, former President of Alberto Fujimori is a more legitimate example. Fujimori is a Peruvian citizen of Japanese descent, and he was actually elected three times, but there’s a caveat. In 2000, Fujimori got caught up in a scandal and fled to Japan. He was eventually tried in Peru and sentenced to 25 years in prison for corruption. Contrast Fujimori’s post-presidency with that of President Obama, who enjoys folk hero status with the Left and is living an extremely comfortable lifestyle by all accounts: writing books and signing deals with Netflix.
So, aside from Peru and South Africa — whose examples don’t exactly inspire imitation – there must be other countries who have elected a racial minority, right? Let’s begin with France, since the Left loves France. Has France ever elected a racial minority to be President? Ever? No. How about a racial minority as U.K. Prime Minister; has there ever been one? Nope. Canada or Australia? Um, no. Germany? You must be kidding. Well, what about all of those awesome Scandinavian countries that the Left adores? Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark? No, no, no and no. How about fellow Leftist countries; have they elected a racial minority? Cuba and Venezuela? No señor. Russia and/or the Soviet Union. Nyet comrade. Might there be an example out there beyond the two mentioned, perhaps. But the primary point seems clear and obvious: electing a racial minority to the highest office in the land is extremely rare, and to accuse a country that has done it twice of being a fundamentally racist society is absurd.
What makes Obama’s elections even more profound is the history that the Left likes to rub in our faces. Both France and the U.K. had slavery, for instance, with the U.K. abolishing it in their empire in 1843, and France in 1848. But neither country had to fight a civil war to accomplish abolition like we did in the U.S. The Civil War tore our country apart, with brothers fighting and killing brothers; literally. Abolition meant financial ruin for the Confederate states. They fought with everything they had, which made true reconciliation with the Union so difficult. America not only had to fight a war to tackle racism, we had to overcome the fierce and lasting resentment of the southern states. We had to permanently abolish slavery in our laws after the war with a constitutional amendment in 1865 since we couldn’t simply rely on President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Then we had to pass an amendment in 1868 to declare that former slaves were actually citizens, and another amendment to give them the right to vote in 1870. As with all amendments, these had to be passed with the support of an overwhelming majority of the electorate and legislature; both of which were overwhelmingly white. But pass they did. It took decades, but with the Civil Rights Act of 1965, we had righted the wrongs of slavery, and Obama’s election only 43 years later added an exclamation point to the achievement. Not only had we moved on from the disgraceful sin of slavery, we had unified to the point where we elected a President from a racial minority making up only 12% of our population, and no other country can make a claim even remotely similar. We should be holding up our history and accomplishments as an example for other countries to aspire to, not trashing it.
While many of us didn’t vote for Obama in either election — because of his politics and policies, not his race — we were proud of our country when he was inaugurated. Look how far we’ve come, we thought. It was a proud day for all of us. But here we are twelve years later, and if we are to believe the Left, we’re more racist now than ever. Nonsense. These past twelve years have given other countries the opportunity to match what we’ve done, to elect a racial minority to lead them, but none have. The election of Barack Obama as president was extraordinary, and we should all be proud. Equally encouraging is the prospect of future racial minorities being elected. Cory Booker, Julian Castro and Kamala Harris weren’t nominated by the Democrat Party, but it wasn’t because of their race. They lost because they were lousy candidates. But if another qualified racial minority comes along, perhaps a more polished version of Herman Cain or a more charismatic version of Marco Rubio, we’ll have another racial minority sitting in the White House before too long; and hopefully that will be a conservative. America has indeed come a long way, and the elections of Barack Obama are undeniable evidence of that fact.