One America or Two?

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I agree with Jesse Walker that Barack Obama's speech was overrated. If anything, it was the type of spiel that, although excellently delivered, disappeared from memory as soon as it was over. If he's the Dems' next "rock star," he's more David Essex than David Bowie.

And there's actually a problem with the one thing folks do remember from Obama's speech: That business about how there really aren't two Americas–black or white, red or blue, rich or poor, happy or sad, fat or thin, etc. There's only "the United States of America."

That was great stuff as far as it went, and it represents a rhetorical success rarely attempted, much less achieved, at conventions. Most important, it avoided a traditional pitfall of emphasizing the pluribus rather than the unum.

But I'm left wondering what the Dems' wonder boy VP candidate, John Edwards, is going to talk about tonight? Didn't he get this far by insisting that there are absolutely two Americas? If we're all one big happy family, then where's the need for change?

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  1. If there are infinite Earths, it stands to reason that there are actually infinite Americas. One per Earth, of course, but still.

  2. Still lookin’ for that Blue Jean Baby Queen.
    Prettiest girl I ever seen –

    The last honest Rock song.

  3. Right joe, and the Republicans want to emphasize cultural differences to demonize the so-called “cultural elites” while the Democrats want to emphasize economic inequality to incite resentment of the have-mores among the have-lesses. Yawn.

  4. i’m all for seeing our splendid diversity united in some respects, but it ain’t gonna happen by splicing onto Uncle Sam a teat for each of us–he’d bugger off before we got very much further along in that procedure

    the dems’ difficulty is in answering bush’s pro-americanness (warts and all) with internationalist criticism and class victimhood

    even the union rank and file can’t warm to obama’s observation that ‘only in america’ could he and his father (25 and 50 years ago) be given the opportunities that most folks struggle for today–government picking winners to right historical injustices (in the form of affirmative action) is still not popular among much of the dems’ core constituency

  5. On Thursday night, Kerry will synthesize Obama’s and Edwards’ positions with his masterful “One and a half Americas” speech.

  6. Edward’s shtick has been that’s he’s opposed to there being “two Americas.”

  7. I think there’s probably some measurement error in their calculations of the number of Americas, and if you factor that in Edwards’ and Obamas’ numbers don’t differ significantly from each other.

  8. Kind of makes you wonder whether its a democratic or republic convention, doesn’t it? One America, Strong America, God, Pledge of Alligiance, and so on and so on…

    Now that puts Edwards in a bad situation, though. His whole campaign was based on two americas, namely ‘rich’ and ‘poor’. I wonder what’s he gonna say tonight?

    madman

  9. Kind of makes you wonder whether its a democratic or republic convention, doesn’t it? One America, Strong America, God, Pledge of Alligiance, and so on and so on…

    Now that puts Edwards in a bad situation, though. His whole campaign was based on two americas, namely ‘rich’ and ‘poor’. I wonder what’s he gonna say tonight?

    madman

  10. Barak’s comments were about culture; Edwards’, economics.

  11. Kind of makes you wonder whether its a democratic or republic convention, doesn’t it? One America, Strong America, God, Pledge of Alligiance, and so on and so on…

    Exactly my point! Edwards’ whole campaign was based on two americas, namely ‘rich’ and ‘poor’. I wonder what’s he gonna say tonight?

    madman

  12. Also, Edwards’s “two Americas” are divided along a different axis: rich and poor, not coastal-vs.-interior or secularist-vs.-theocratic or whatever it is “red and blue” is said to mean this week.

    For someone who professes to prefer neither-of-the-above when it comes to American politics, you sure seem to direct a lot of energy at phony targets when it comes to the Democrats, Nick. Did a Democrat give you a wedgie back in the sixth grade or something?

  13. I’ve always been sort of hoping for 50 Americas myself. I mean, is one really enough? And why should one size fit all anyway?

  14. I like the idea of 300 million Americas. And they can be any damn color they want.

  15. I like the idea of 300 million Americas. And they can be any damn color they want.

  16. I like the idea of 300 million Americas. And they can be any damn color they want.

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