Channel 4 News' anchor, Jon Snow, has just been talking about how electing Barack Obama means "America has come of constitutional age". Yes, really. Apparently none of those previous elections were legitimate. Now of course Snow's program tilts even further to the left than the BBC so you might expect him to say something like this. But there will, alas, be much more of this sort of nonsense.
Now in one sense, it's clear what Snow means: after all, there are many people who do not expect to agree with Obama politically who appreciate, nonetheless, that his victory is a splendid and significant moment in American history. But Snow's smugness, indeed his condescension, is another matter altogether. It's rather as though there exists the presumption that the millions of Americans voting for John McCain today can only be motivated by their fear - conscious or not - of a black man becoming President. Alternatively, it's like taking the kids to the zoo so they can see those strange Americans. Look, some of them have opposable thumbs!
It’s impossible (for me) to doubt that whatever happens, either today or over the next four or eight years, Obama will be much better for America culturally than politically. But it’s ridiculous to hold Obama’s election over the heads of those who would dare to vote against him: taking away every nonwhite kid’s shot at true self-esteem! HOW DARE YOU?!?! etc. And indeed, I’ve heard it put this way — not just a matter of inspiring black kids (which of course is an awesome idea that all of us should be more involved in), but "hispanic, native American…"... People who won’t vote for Obama because they disagree with him aren’t shattering anyone’s dreams. If that’s what politics has become in this country — you annihilated my future! – then we really do need a long collective night in the drunk tank.
Still, don't expect this view to prevail in much of the foreign media, particularly the left-wing overseas press.