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eyes on the U.S.

A French Plea For American Democracy To Rediscover Its Centrist Soul

Tea party's cure
Tea party's cure


PARIS – Once upon a time, there was a Republic that knew how to overcome ideological differences. It was largely governed from a certain middle ground, a magical place and the matrix of what political art can produce in its most intelligent and, often, noble form: reform by compromise.

This Republic of yore could find majorities thanks to center-leaning politicians from the country's two main parties, Republicans and Democrats. Momentous policies were thus enacted: the New Deal's welfare state, the fight against 20th century totalitarianism, the Civil Rights Act, the conquest of space …

Across the Atlantic, the Old Continent — too often absorbed in ideological squabble — longed for a flexibility similar to that of the American political system.

Yet, as the years passed, this system was bound to grind to a halt. The workings of the American democracy have been getting rustier and rustier. The latest example of this is the government shutdown as the White House and Republican-led House of Representatives are locked in a standoff over the federal budget.

The new budget year started on Oct. 1 and, without a deal, the Treasury has no money to pay civil servants — meaning that parts of the government's basic services are simply shut down.

It's the politics, stupid

Of course, it is an eminently political affair. The Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have no intention of voting the budget unless they get the cancellation of Barack Obama's health care reform — an eventuality that the president and the Senate, controlled by his party, refuse to even discuss.

But things do not end there. Although this is already harmful to the economy, the shutdown could lead to something much worse: the default on the American debt payment, should the Republicans adopt the same conduct come Oct. 17, when the debt ceiling will need to be raised. The beginning of the U.S. economic recovery could be seriously jeopardized, bound to lead to negative repercussions on the rest of the world's economy.

It would be wrong to assume that there is a genuine disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over Obamacare health reform. It is but a pretext for the extremist, fundamentalist core of the Republican party, the Tea Party, to sabotage Obama's presidency. Such is the reflection of an increasingly polarized American public life.

There is no rational justification for the actions of the Tea Party, except for the hatred they share for this President, or for a view of politics that falls under the frame of permanent civil war.

A majority of the American people strongly oppose the Tea Party, but their representatives in Congress risk nothing. Their constituencies were tailor-made by Republican governors, guaranteeing them reelection. And meanwhile, the Founding Fathers of this great Republic will continue to turn over in their proverbial grave.

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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