The world is a different place this morning. The world`s most durable democracy has elected an African-American as its president. Let those European nations so quick to disparage America ask themselves if they`re ready to match this act of political maturity. Is France, for example, ready to make a Franco-Algerian its head of state?
But the American election is not merely a demonstration of comity, it is a plebiscite on the pretentious and profoundly amoral nostrums of the novelist and theorist Ayn Rand (inset). The American people have rejected her winner-take-all trash talk and reasserted their fundamental compassion for one another. Will the Christian right now embrace this triumph of the Christian ethos over selfishness?
Ayn Rand`s ideas, woodenly put in her novel The Fountainhead, have gone hand-in-glove with the free-market misadventure Ronald Reagan hawked like the corporate spokesman he always was. Her anti-Christian me-first message was prettied up as trickle-down, laissez-faire economics. The middle class and the poor were supposed to get the crumbs off the tables of the rich.
But the greedy rich combed up the crumbs, along with their riches, and parked them in untaxable offshore havens, and the rest of us got poorer, sicker and more desperate.
This abomination, wrapped in glitz and sold by Alan Greenspan, Rand`s disciple, and Phil Gramm and others, has now been discredited at the polls. The voters have not only said no to hatred, divisiveness and selfishness, they have said yes to intelligence, compassion and racial harmony. They have voted for their own interests and against the cheap thrills of culture war. True, the popular vote reflects the lingering poisons of the culture warriors, but the majority of voters have opted for a grander vision.
And the world notices. For eight years we have baffled and disheartened foreign admirers and encouraged our enemies by affirming their malignant view of us, but this morning the essential dynamism of American democracy cannot fail to dazzle our severest critics.
Rand`s odious ideas were never any good to anyone but those who don`t give a damn about their fellows, and it was always to the Christian right`s disgrace that it winked at her blatantly unchristian message. It is not only unchristian, it is out of concert with any of the world`s religions.
In sending Barack Obama to the White House the American people have said, We`re not the hateful, small-minded people the Republicans have been counting on us to be. We want to give each other a hand, we want prosperity for all of us, not just the arrogant rich. We are tolerant of dissent. We live in one nation indivisible, not a red country and a blue country. We are not secessionists. We intend to work together. Capitalism yes, piracy no.
The people have voted smart and alert. The Republicans should turn from their harmful let`s you-and-him fight tactics and return to their pre-1960s heritage of common-sense business, fiscal vigilance and big-tent civility. Dividing the country and trying to wrap the squalid tactic in the flag hasn`t fooled the majority this time. "DM