Looks like our American friends didn’t manage to fuck up at the voting booth this time. Hooray for the country that invented democracy!
So, however one puts it, the outcome of this is probably the best thing possible. The right wing retards are out of the richest government on earth and the change-lusting smart guy is in. And he even seems to have all the solid majorities needed to actually change stuff in practice. The coming years will show us whether he actually does.
Meanwhile, the presses everywhere are speaking of a revolution and how, finally, it shows that racism is dead or so. It’s probably progress in that respect but likely not quite as clear cut. What’s certainly more fascinating about Mr Obama’s story is that he’s somehow half-immigrant but could still be elected to be president. That just seems very American-Dream-ish.
Other things keep confusing me. One of them is the fucked up electoral system they use in the U.S. Which is said to have been a totally reasonable compromise centuries ago without phone lines but which seems to decouple the practical outcome of the election from the way people voted (apparently not the most democratic thing to do). So while Mr Obama may have gained a comfortable margin in terms of the representatives elected to make him president, the actual outcome of the ballot count is much closer, with the Obama team coming out with an advantage of mere five or six percentage points.
That probably means that almost every other America would have preferred their country run by a team of an almost-dead old man and a barbie doll who may have difficulties spelling her own name. As an American guest remarked to me that’s because just too many people will blindly vote for whoever is the worst christian nutter on the ballot and who think the most pressing issue for their country is that there should be neither abortions nor homosexuals with the same rights as everybody else. That’s probably the same kind of political acumen you expect from people who manage to be ‘undecided’ about whom they’re going to vote for and will change their opinion on that every now and again, or from people who say ‘hang on I’ll have to ask my husband’.
Now of course I find it hard to understand how people can be so keen on forbidding other people to do things that don’t affect anybody else (hint: nobody will force you to have an abortion…) - particularly if the very same people are the ones who’ll cry out loudest for the government not interfering with anything and letting people be free (to carry guns, not pay taxes, …). I sense cognitive dissonance there. Mindfuck to say the least.
And the maps speak a reasonably clear language. They’re totally red. Which suggests Mr Obama won everywhere until you realise that they got the colours wrong in the U.S. an there the conservative jerks are red rather than blue while the slightly less conservative jerks are blue rather than red. And then you think,
ugh, and still the blue guys won while you start realising that most of the U.S. are huge and mostly unpopulated hinterlands whose inhabitants may be a bit behind. Seeing all this put into some amusing graphics is kind of neat.
It also strikes the mind that the polls looked like the election outcome would be very close just a few weeks ago and the actual result was clear but not a landslide (in fact the historical ‘voting shift’ maps at the New York Times suggest that the outcome is still far more ‘red’ than it was in 1996 or 1992. So it seems that nearly dead old guy + bimbo + christian nutter + business zealots + guns + abortions + hating everybody different + Bush legacy is a collection of negatives which isn’t big enough to outweigh change + black + consistent typography + possibly open minded + has left the country for something other than an invasion; it took a world-class financial crisis on top of that to make a small majority possible.
Now we have to hope that (a) Mr Obama won’t be shot - he just seems to be the kind of charismatic guy who trigger happy people are scared by and hence keen to shoot -, i.e. that the paranoid American security behaviour actually works for something as the guy seems special in the way he can make people enthusiastic and dancing in the streets and that (b) he manages to use the solid majority he got to actually change things despite there being possibly hindering details like budget deficits or the interests of all the other politicans who’ll want to have a say on things. Smiles along won’t be enough anymore for a president.
Thanks for the kind(?) words.
Hah! I love the slip-in of “consistent typography” there. I have to admit at least a small part of my support for Obama has been because his campaign seems to understand the value of quality technology and design.