Chris Rock thinks the country may be ready for Barack Obama to move into the Oval Office, telling Life magazine, “It’s ready for a retarded president, why wouldn’t it be ready for an African American president?”
I wonder what Eddie Murphy would have to say about this. I don’t know what he thinks of Bush, but I vividly remember a bit from Murphy’s early standup days—his impression of the first black president giving his inaugural address. It went like this:
“My fellow Americans—” [gunshot rings out]
Chris Rock’s comment, bitter and funny as it is, sounds a lot more optimistic than Murphy used to.
This doesn’t mean that the doors to the White House are wide open to any qualified candidate, though. A study last year from the University of Minnesota found that a wide majority of voters wouldn’t vote for an atheist no matter how well qualified.
I guess I’ll have to stick by the view that the political process does a better job of perpetuating social problems than relieving them. In my admitted ignorance I can’t think of a single major social problem that’s been solved by political means; that seems to happen mostly by social movements that challenge the political system. I think the main function of politics is to prop up people’s Confidence in the System by reassuring them that something is being done.
Anyway, as low as my opinion of politics is, our current Oval Office occupant has rid me of the notion that it doesn’t matter which loser is in charge. But he does demonstrate that political power in general is a better instrument for harm than for good.