As the US election nears I’m getting increasingly fearful that McCain/Palin will win. Personally, like the majority of my US friends, I want Obama to win – although that is mostly a “please, no more Republican evil!” knee jerk reaction, there is now some sense in my head that Senator Obama is a strong orator who doesn’t rely on feel good bull-sh*t like his opponent. That and McPain/Palin seem to be running on a ‘dig more oil’ and ‘attack more countries’ policy more than anything else these days. Oh, and don’t forget ‘Joe the Plumber’!
Here’s the rub. To folk outside the US who’ve never lived there it may come as a surprise to learn that most Americans are reasonable folk, who love their families, support charities and just want a good life. They aren’t all part of gun-toting, lynch mobs. However the vast majority of Americans also watch Fox and other hyperbole spewing mega-media corps who firmly want the Republicans to get in. Sarah Palin looks good on TV, and her ‘straight talking’, ‘hockey mum’ appeal seems to be having a big effect.
To really understand what Americans are subjected to I suggest us Brits regularly watch The Daily Show on More4. You will be shown, to comedic effect, the bizarre ramblings and contradictions of the politicians who are vying for the US votes. Thankfully for The Daily Show writers the McPalin bandwagon is a comedic goldmine of repetition, slogans and vilification of that ‘terrorist’ Obama. Watching this will show you how good the Republican strategists are at working the fear in many Americans minds into something firm they can latch onto – amazingly this fear isn’t translating into ‘we need someone to lead us out of this credit crunch’ it’s translating into ‘Oh please no baby Jesus, don’t let that evil Islamic terrorist Obama into office or we’re all dead!’. Fear is a powerful weapon. It’s the weapon of choice for the dark side and it’s the weapon of choice for the Republicans. Fear leads to simple slogans sticking in the minds of the populace, as it feels like a solid rock to hold onto.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, they like to be reasonable about everything. Liberal even. Or as McPalin is now saying – ‘socialist’ – a word that strikes fear into every ‘right thinking’ American’s mind. Ooo! Socialist.. that’s like ‘Communist’ isn’t it? No. They’re very different. However the Democrats will stay reasonable, pointing out the reasonable flaws in the McPalin sloganfest, and presenting a reasonable, considered approach to how the country might be run – including potential compromise where appropriate, or change if necessary. This is not a message that fits nicely on a bumper sticker, or that resonates with those folks who it needs to resonate with. They’re still stuck on Obama’s colour… not that they’re racists! Oh no, it’s just he’s one of ‘them’.
So you see why I’m a bit worried about this election. Last time two rich, white guys went up against each other – and the Southern, war monger won against the successful businessman. This time an older, white war monger with his trophy VP is going up against a black, educated, intelligent, charismatic, black man and his older white VP. I know who I’d like to win, but my money would have to go on evil winning again if I was a betting man, or if I had any money during this greed induced recession to waste on betting…
All of you in America. I implore you. For the sake of your children, and the chance to bring your once great country to the forefront of world politics again for positive reasons (not just because you’ve bombed poor people again). Please vote Obama, and get your friends and family to vote Obama. Look in your own heart and see if you’re being racist – be honest now. If you think Obama is either a terrorist, Islamic or ‘one of them’ then you’re racist – sorry, that’s the truth. Of course if you want to vote McCain for any other reason than that then go ahead, it’s your free choice. Just don’t expect me to feel sorry for you when you wake up in the morning, and look over on the other side of the bed and go ‘Oh wait. Did I vote for him lat night? I’m never drinking again…’