I must admit, I sort of love America. I love WWE, I love the Superbowl, I love the razzle dazzle and the unashamed patriotism. Don’t get me wrong, I love it from a distance, I don’t want it in England, I am very pleased to live in a country of Jam and Jerusalem and Alan Bennet and queuing and drizzle.
I think the sheer showmanship of America is why people all across Britain will be having election parties, drinking crap beer from red plastic cups and eating chicken wings and hot dogs. I sincerely doubt in 2010 whether there were any parties in Washington where Anglophile Americans sat around watching the BBC, drinking real ale and eating hotpot. “Hey Hank, pass us the toad in the hole” they would shout at each other, wondering whether the smooth-faced posh bloke who looked like he’d come from Madam Tussauds Hall of Tosspots would beat the Scottish accountant who’s just discovered his wife is cheating on him with his brother. They might even pass the time trying to figure out what they thought was more disgusting, black pudding or Nick Clegg’s smug smile which makes him looks like he’s constantly on the verge of climaxing.
The scenario is highly unlikely, there is something in pomp and balloons and over the top personalities that interests people about US politics that is lacking in other countries’ political processes. When the most populous country in the world changes its leader soon few in this country will be up all night to watch, even fewer will be hosting parties and eating bamboo shoots or chicken in satay sauce. This may seem an oversight as it will be his cold metallic laugh we will hear in 30 years’ time when we’re working in Chinese-owned sweatshops making trainers for their consumer market.
But not only is the whole world watching, they are also all hoping for the same result. From Limerick to Lahore, from Timbuktu to Tokyo, it seems everyone wants Barack back in the Whitehouse. (Quick tip to aspiring writers, what I just did there, “from one place to somewhere that while being both geographically and culturally different still alliterates”, is a journalistic staple, it looks dead clever but it really isn’t. Try it yourself sometime and just like me you can give the impression of talent whilst being lazy and hackish.) The exception to this rule is Israel which is throwing its toys out of the pram due to the fact it is not receiving its usual molly-coddling by the US.
But what makes the whole world so pro-Obama? For starters I would suggest, just look at him. I mean seriously, just look at him. He’s so fucking effortlessly cool. Romney on the other hand looks like an actor who made his name playing vampires in 80’s horror movies and has since let himself go. If this was a Hollywood movie about a black guy who grew up in a single mother household, on food stamps and who put himself through college versus an out of touch millionaire who worked as an asset stripper sending jobs overseas before getting into politics to give his millionaire friends tax cuts you would think it too simplistic, the real world isn’t like that, there are – according to academic reseach at least 50 – shades of grey.
And it’s fair to admit (I am here using the more common meaning of “admit” as in to concede a point or recognise a personal mistake, not as in the answer to the question, “how do you make the Republican Party seem even more fucking creepy?”) that the situation is slightly more difficult, on the one side. It would certainly be fair to say Obama has not lived up to the HOPE agenda. On the ludicrous “War on Terror” his record is worse than Bush, he has failed to close Guantanamo, failed to repeal the Patriot Act, increased the use of drones and the deaths of civilians that goes with them and sent more young men to die in Afghanistan. This has allowed him to campaign as a tough guy on national security, yet it has further damaged America’s standing in the world. You cannot fight for freedom if you wiretap your citizenry and engage in torture. And if you want to know what people in the Middle East hate about the West? it’s not our freedoms; it’s our bombs that tear of the limbs off their loved ones, that’s the sort of shit that makes you get a bit cranky. Domestically and on the economy he has been weak on Wall Street, he has allowed the Frank-Dodd Act, an act that did not go far enough in the first place, to be watered down by the crooks in the banking sector. And that word crooks should not be hyperbole, the actions of many high level banks and bankers was criminal and they should have been treated just as harshly as some scrote that nicks £80 out of some woman’s handbag. We have to concede, Obama has failed.
However please look at who Obama is up against, a party that believes rape is the will of God and consensual sex between two adult males is the will of the devil. A party that wants to privatise healthcare and nationalise women’s wombs. A party whose leader can say “I don’t care about the very poor” or that 47% of Americans see themselves as victims. I mean seriously, if you are only counting on having 53% of the public even consider you – because the remaining 47% apparently expect things like “food” and “healthcare”, fucking moochers – then don’t alienate those members of the 53% who have vaginas, as that’s going to be about half of them. I can only imagine two possible reasons why Romney and the Republican Party are acting so hatefully right now. Firstly it is worth considering that Romney is unaware America has universal suffrage, like he still thinks it’s 1832 and only white men who owned property were allowed to vote, he probably thinks if he just swings by some of the big slave states and promises to knock this dangerous emancipation talk on the head he’ll romp to victory. The second answer starts with a personal story, a friend of mine, an American who leans slightly further to the right than a man carrying his shopping in his right hand, providing he’s just purchased a black hole, made a bet with me recently. I currently have £20 on Obama to defeat the man who is right now, sat on a throne made of the bones of the poor, sporting a massive erection at the thought of firing one of his servants. As a result of my little wager I have actually been secretly rather pleased every time the Republicans let slip how little they care about people who aren’t millionaire white males. But if I have £20 on the result who’s to say how much other people have riding on this. Maybe one of those dodgy far-Eastern betting syndicates has millions of dollars riding on this. This could be like boxing where they pay the boxer to take a dive, perhaps they’re paying them to make horrible remarks that will offend independents.
Of course there is a third thing to consider, maybe the Republican Party and Mitt Romney do believe these things. Maybe, just maybe, beside the PR and the smiles you have a group of nasty, elitist, misogynist, racist, reactionary and homophobic people who just don’t like America in the year 2012 and want to take it back to a mythical time that never existed.
Obama is not perfect, he needs to do more on reforming the economy, he needs to bring justice to the banking system by jailing those responsible for the crash, and the dead children of central-Asia should rest heavy on his soul. There is a good chance he won’t do these things because of the toxic mixture of money and politics that exists in the US. But you can be sure Obama represents the lesser of two evils, and if that’s your only choice then it’s a simple one. PICK THE ONE WHO’S LESS EVIL.