Watching and listening to the commentaries that followed the US elections I was saddened by how much of it centered on Barack Obama's race and religion, and the self-congratulations of electing an Afro-American as the next President of the United States of America.
There were endless commentaries on Martin Luther King, the civil movement and the Kennedy Brothers. Re-hash after re-hash of how great it was that the good old USA could now elect a black President. There were also endless jokes about the White House now being the Black and White House.
Has the USA really come so far? If we have really come so far why is the race and heritage of Barack Obama of such interest? There was even mention that an intelligent black President was better than a stupid white President. That line of debate went along the lines that a lime green Martian with two heads could have won against anyone from the same party as George Bush.
The one thing that was rarely mentioned was Barak Obama's undeniable ability.
Rather than the end of bigotry the election of Barack Obama could have been because of bigotry. It was inevitable that once Afro-Americans managed to have voting as their right on the same basis as white Americans a time would come when there were Afro-American voters would outnumber white voters.
At least combined with other non Caucasian groups they would be the majority. Maybe this time the non-white vote out numbered the white vote and Barack Obama won. We could now be entering a stage where the winner of future Presidential elections depends on the relative participation of ethnic groupings.
We also have grouping that youth tended to favor Obama, women tended to favor Obama and older white males tended towards McCain. Does that mean that pandering to the particular prejudice of particular groupings is the way to win elections?
The way to do this would be to work out mirage policies for each grouping whilst ensuring that the policies designed for one group did not upset the other, even if there was no intention of following through with the policies. That is provided that the particular group mattered.
But this is the way it has always been. Afro-Americans never used to matter and as a result they got nothing. But now they do. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Barack Obama probably won the US Presidential election because on this occasion black prejudice won over white prejudice. It is only a numbers game. How far have we really come?