"He's the American Neil Kinnock."

Politics As we all sat watching John Kerry's concession speech, Mum said: "He's the American Neil Kinnock."
"Except not Welsh." I said.
"No. But he was the best Prime Minister the country never had."
It's a good parallel. Even if you weren't a life long Labour supporter, even I can remember that you dredded the idea of another four or five years of the Conservatives in power expecially Thatcher. There was hoping and praying that the your fellow countrypeople wouldn't back down at the last minute, but yet it happened and Kinnock chances of power evaporated and the country was set on the political rollercoaster which carries on today.
"I'm too depressed to type anymore..." -- Neil, 'Tachyon TV'
John Kerry will indeed be the best president the US never had. Within his closing speech you could tell that he wouldn't be trying again in four years. He'd tried his best, the American people had rejected him and he was going to stand aside and let someone else try. The assumption is Hilary Clinton, and who would bet against her becoming the first woman president?
"I think lots of people just like George W Bush. When you like someone, you tend to trust them. I think the press has enabled this to a large extent, with its unwillingness to clearly indicate when the President and his surrogates have misled or even lied to the American people, but maybe that wouldn't have made as much of a difference as I think." -- Rebecca Blood, 'rebecca's pocket'
In the UK, the result has been met with genuine disbelief and sadness. For me it reflects an idea that a majority of Americans lack the critical faculties necessary to look at a person, look at their personality, their record, ethos, lifestyle and career and decide that in fact it wouldn't be in their best interests to have them as their representative in the world. That they lack the ability to question. Can it really be that the man got re-elected because he uses his own religious beliefs to guide policy choices in a way which led to the Spanish Inquisitions centuries ago and potentially hold back something so 'repellant' as progress.
"One likely factor in the Bush win was his silly but effective use of homophobic fear mongering over the right to marry. Ohio, the decider, came out in force to favor an amendment to their state constitution banning not only gay marriage, but any legal recognition of any union of any two people outside the marriage of a man to a woman, in essence telling everyone else to literally go fuck themselves. Thanks, Ohio!" -- Lance Arthur, 'Glass Dog'
The only real consolation is that this wasn't a landslide. That it was a very close run race which means that in fact the majority of Americans don't feel that way. Even if in Texas, Republican voters out classed Democrats by two-to-one, at least it wasn't three, four or even five-to-one. We can be thankful that people even in those states voted for change. Looking across this excellent results map at the BBC, in many states, even those which should have easily fallen to Bush, Kerry voters came very close to victory. That popular vote which will be thrown about as a ringing endorsement in the weeks ahead has mainly been propped up by voters in what you can comfortably call forgone conclusion states.
"I still don't understand why people voted for Bush, and I don't know why people had to take such underhanded tactics in this race -- I guess I'm just an idealist and trust in the underlying principles of democracy in respect to the latter. A co-worker who lives in Florida told me that residents were getting phone calls, telling them polling places were destroyed in the hurricane and to wait until the day after Election Day, when they'd be told where to go. The Election Committee had to go on TV there, telling people that wasn't the case at all and they weren't calling anyone and that polling places were open." -- Keith, 'Reality Remixed'
So yes I'm looking for the preverbial silver lining in a very dark cloud. But what I'm trying to say is that we can still look across the pond in hope. George Bush Jr might well be the president, he might well have a strong showing in Congress and the House of Representatives and he will no doubt feel like he can push though whatever policies he likes in the next four years. But the questioning process will continue. But more that ever people will be looking for the joins in the mask he puts on whenever he's trying to look and be presidential. His actions are going to be criticised more than ever and he's going to have to be extra-ordinarily careful about any indiscretions which his administration may have commited in the past or present, because an increasing sceptical media and bruised but intact Democratic Party will be waiting for their moment to pounce. Look at Nixon.
"i want so badly to remain hopeful, but at three in the morning i find myself in tears, filled with an outrage that i had not known possible. when all the world was full of possibility, this country bankrupted of a sense of justice folded under the weight of their own ego. what a disappointment you have become." -- anna kiss
When Mr Kerry finished speaking and his family and supporters joined him on stage, my Dad turned to me and asked: "How did Nader do?"

1 comment:

jenniii said...

Americans are stupid, they get what they deserve. Neil Kinnock was a joke, hence his non-election.