Maddening America

By Ben Cohen

As a transplant to the U.S from Britain, I certainly identify with Andrew Sullivan’s exasperation, anger, joy, and awe of his adopted country:

No civilised country sustained

slavery as recently as America or defended segregation as tenaciously as the

American South until just a generation ago. In my lifetime, mixed-race

couples were legally barred from marrying in many states. But equally in my

lifetime, a miscegenated man who grew up in Hawaii won a majority of the

votes in the old slave state of Virginia to become the first minority

president of any advanced western nation.

That is the paradox of America; and after a while you find it hard to

appreciate anything more coherent. What keeps America behind is also what

keeps pushing it relentlessly, fitfully forward.

That Canadian genius Leonard Cohen put it best, perhaps. In his anthem

Democracy he called the United States “the cradle of the best and of the


Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.