Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Not for all the tea in Boston

In the end even I, a proper political junkie, had to switch off the endless coverage of the US mid-term elections (while observing in passing that the obssessive British coverage marks us as a client state: reckon CNN follows our elections that closely).

I'm sickened by the stupidity, nastiness and hypocrisy of the American political scene. Republican after Republican shouting about Obama's policies as though he had no right to make decisions, despite winning a landslide victory. Calling this morning for 'bipartisanship' after spending the last two years voting against every single Democrat idea: the Healthcare bill was watered down massively to please the Republicans, and still they voted against it unanimously.

It seemed to be such an uninformed debate - people on state medical schemes calling for the abolition of the state, bandying around words like socialist, communist and fascist. The endless calls for smaller government, while insisting that the US maintains itself as the biggest military power in the world (outspending the nearest rival by 40 times). Hysteria about immigrants from a nation founded on immigration (and wiping out the natives). They're voting against even minimal state healthcare because they don't want government deciding how you're treated: they'd rather corporations with an interest in excluding the sick do it! Most awful of all, voting for the party of corporate power, untrammelled banking power and finance capital after these people bankrupted America. The debate has shifted from persuasion to screaming abuse and naked hypocrisy, mixed with a dose of barely concealed racism. I just don't get it. I know the ideological basis of the American Dream is hardy individualism, but this is something far nastier.

Sure, Obama's failed in some ways - mostly, I feel, by not being bold enough, and not being skilled enough at getting his hands dirty. He believes, like a good university teacher should, in rational, calm discussion, while his opponents are smashing him over the head with a cosh. He's a liberal - that's the problem. While he's putting the case, his opponents (quietly funded by companies like BP), are waving things like this:

This morning, I had to switch off my radio, so depressed was I with the fate of a great country.


Ewarwoowar said...

I watched the BBC coverage till about 2am, if only for the legend that is Matt Frei.

Yeah, some bits were pretty desperate, weren't they? It was hilarious to see Linda McMahon lose however.

intelliwench said...

I'm not exactly dancing in the streets myself, Vole. Our Democrat candidate for governor here in Tennessee was pro-life and advocated for the teaching of intelligent design in schools. But I didn't want to vote for a Green or other Independent candidate and basically push a button for the Repub. Who won, anyway.

The only time I experienced joy last evening was when I walked into the room to see Christine O'Donnell on TV and quickly realized she was conceding that she'd lost. Phew....

Norway beckons.

jadedj said...

Spot on analysis. Imagine how those of us in the U.S. who voted for change two years ago feel about having basically the same thugs that flushed us down the john, voted back in.

I do disagree with one point here...Obama is far from being a liberal. At best he is center of the road. Therein lies the problem with his administration. We thought we were getting a bulldog lib, and got a pussy cat.

The Plashing Vole said...

Jaded - yes, point taken. He's a nicer face to standard capitalism.

I do feel for you guys. The British and Irish political scenes are cynical, ugly and disgusting, but they aren't hysterical and frightening in the way it seems to be over there.

Intelliwench: isn't it depressing having to vote for the 'least-worst' candidate? That's why I like proportional representation. It ends safe seats and means you can actually vote for the candidate - if any - you actually like.

But at least some of the utter loonies didn't win. On the other hand, having them on the national stage without power might have been a good lesson to the voters.