Thursday, 6 November 2008
American politics, oh boy. Yee-hah, and as some dude on TV hollered at me yesterday, 'America's back, baby!'
So Barack Obama won the election and good for him. I don't know much about the man. The coverage of the election here has been very patchy and I haven't gone out of my way to find out more. I was never very involved with politics when I lived in America and feel even more disengaged now that I live in England. I'd rather have him than another 4 years of the Republicans, though.
Anna Down Under mentioned on her blog that her heart and soul are still in America. I don't feel the same. I'm not really proud to be an American because that was just an accident of birth. I am grateful to have been born in the Western world, obviously, because that's where the good life is, where we all live like kings and are comfortable and well-fed enough to be distracted by things like kettlebells and veganism and Republicans and Democrats. We've got problems in the West, but lack of health care and being on the dole are not quite as bad as having to drink from fetid streams contaminated with raw sewage and, if you're lucky, living in a dirt-floor shack made of scraps paid for by working to make cheap jeans to be sold in Wal-mart. We need to remember that our problems would be easy to solve if some of the power were taken out of the hands of corporations. Apparently it's really, really hard to do the right thing, even when the money's there. To me, it's just a little bit weird that America is so rich they can have poured so much money into just an election, money that equalled or surpassed the GNP of some of those nations in the 'developing world.' I guess I've just got a different perspective. And I have to admit I am sometimes embarrassed by America, the patriotism and jingoism and the scale of it all. At least it would seem that Mr. Obama is a tall and handsome, well-spoken statesman who won't embarrass us in front of the rest of the world.
Of course it's wonderful to have opened this new door in the political scene, where it might be okay at last to be an ethnic minority, gay, atheist, disabled, or otherwise 'different' and be allowed to hold office and have a voice. In that way, I'm hopeful. It's a huge step in the right direction. Maybe people won't have to hide anymore. Openly gay or atheist politicians! Acceptance of all. Wouldn't that be nice.
Now that the money's been spent and--hopefully--some of the rah-rah rhetoric dies down, we will see if Mr. Obama rolls up his sleeves and does something good for the world. He's certainly in the best position to do so.