Living History

Today could easily be classed as ‘interesting times’, and we all know that curse. The American people are gathering to cast their vote, which, depending on the complex and confusing electoral college system, may or may not decided the next President of the United States.

The decision is actually not an easy one if you look at the majority of America and the information they receive. Even now that 21% of Americans holds a valid passport, many have still yet to travel that far afield. The American media does not represent to most people the impact their President’s current foreign policy is having on the world political scene. Then there’s the more disturbing trend of people not really giving a f*ck what the rest of the world thinks because, well, we’re America. Bush represents people of that mindset admirably. Bush also has a great ability to talk in soundbites, if only because long sentences cause him trouble. Kerry suffers from being un-photogenic and also a waffler, much like Gore before him – although Gore was definately cuter. Kerry’s main advantage in this vote.. he’s not Bush. That is not a strong reason for people to vote for him. So ultimately the outcome of this vote will be a surprise whatever happens.

There is an upside to all this. The feeling on the street. The passion on TV and in conversations. The strength of the youth movement this time around. People who were around in the protests in the 60s seem in awe that today’s younger generation can get this passionate about politics. Many of the pollster pundits seem to think that Kerry will win purely because of the youth vote, which is hard to quantify, and is being stirred up by celebrities across the board. The sense is that we are all involved in something bigger, something important, something that affects the entire world and will make a lasting effect beyond our generation’s time. That is an amazing feeling.

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